16 June 2016, Lagos — The International Maritime Organisation, (IMO) has given the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) 90 days ultimatum to formulate a long-term strategy for the implementation of instruments and convention in Nigeria.
Giving this ultimatum, leader of IMO’s audit team, Captain Yalscin Cahit said that the country Member States Audit Scheme (IMSAS) has submitted an interim report after its week-long audit of the Nigerian maritime sector.
He called on Maritime stakeholders especially Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to develop and formalise a long-term strategy for the implementation of IMO instruments in the country. Presenting the interim report, Cahit harped on the need for the Agency to develop its systems.
He noted that NIMASA has no problems with human resources as he lauded the expertise, competence and commitment of the Agency’s personnel.
He also drew attention to the need to fast-track enactment of regulations pursuant to IMO instruments for which Nigeria is party to. Cahit said issuance of regulations is critical to the enforcement of IMO instruments.
He noted that the interim report has 11 findings and one observation emphasized the need for the Agency to respond within 90 days, to the findings and highlight the strategies being developed to remedy the gaps identified.
He also highlighted positive strides Nigerian maritime sector is making. Meanwhile, Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside, has promised the IMSAS team that the Agency together with other stakeholders are committed to the implementation of relevant IMO instruments for the overall development of the Nigerian maritime industry.
The DG who restated that the IMO Audit is in line with the vision of NIMASA, also said that the Agency will leverage on the findings and observation of the interim report to repositioning the Nigerian maritime industry for more efficiency and competitiveness.
While thanking the IMO Audit team to Nigeria for a thorough job done, Peterside assured the team that the Agency will take the report very seriously and in the next one year, most of the identified deficiencies will be drastically reduced if not completely eliminated.
“With the active support of the Honourable Minister of Transportation and the leadership of the Agency which is forward looking, focused and determined, Nigeria will certainly regain its lost glory in the comity of maritime nations.
NIMASA will immediately settle down to work to address these findings”, the DG said. The Audit is aimed at promoting a consistent and effective implementation of applicable IMO conventions, resolutions and protocols amongst member nations as well as assist member states to improve their capabilities in the enforcement of these instruments for the overall benefit of global shipping.
Commenting on the development, Engr Akin Olaniyan, a ship classification consultant disclosed that the ultimatum was in order adding that such an exercise can not be carried out without being given a period of time to put your house in order. He also said that Nigeria stands to lose a lot if it fails to comply within the time frame given by the United Nations agency.
*Godwin Oritse – Vanguard