21 March 2017, Sweetcrude, Lagos — THE Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, has commenced moves to galvanize collaborative effort with nine countries in the West African sub-region to build a formidable regional framework with a view to responding to distress situations.
Disclosing this yesterday in Lagos, NIMASA’s Director-General, Dr. Dakuku Peterside said that the Agency has successfully hosted two Sub-Regional Technical Committee meetings to build a formidable regional network.
Peterside also disclosed that Regional network has increased the agency’s level of alertness, thus improving its capacity to respond to distress calls, which has ultimately led to a considerable reduction in the cases of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea.
“Our quest to achieve a safer maritime domain has seen us working on an Anti-Piracy Bill.
“The Regional Search And Rescue Committee which is made up of nine member countries under the Nigerian SAR Region, namely; Nigeria, Benin, Cameroon, Congo, D.R. Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Sao Tome & Principe and Togo have been dormant before mow.
“They never met to discuss modalities of collaboration for almost a decade.
“We have received the President’s backing to acquire assets that will be deployed at strategic locations, thus enhancing our ability to improve the safety of vessels within our maritime domain.
“Having realised the need to enhance the safety of boat users in Nigeria, we have secured the approval of the Honourable Minister of Transportation to increase the number of Search And Rescue Marshalls from 100 to 1000.” he said.
On the International Ships and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code, Peterside said that the agency has intensified effort to ensure strict compliance with the provisions of the Code.
The result, according to him is that Nigeria now has a compliance rate of almost 80% as 114 Port facilities out of the total 145 ports in Nigeria are now fully ISPS compliant.
He explained that NIMASA was only appointed the Designated Authority for the implementation of ISPS Code in Nigeria barely 5 years ago when compliance level was barely 13%.
“Though 8% of the remaining 31 Port Facilities are currently pursuing compliance, our goal is to target a 100% compliance level within the next twelve months. Our efforts have attracted commendation from the United States Coast Guard team that visited Nigeria earlier this year.”