NIMASA deploys multiprong approach, resources for shipping development
…Targets October 2020 for CVFF disbursement, to begin floating dock operations, advances platforms against piracy
The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency(NIMASA) has set in place a commitment to developing the shipping sub-sector of the maritime industry, from being armed with the Anti-piracy Law, to a new approach of having technical working groups; local and international representatives, identifying problems and proffering solutions, achieving set goals gets quite concrete.
In his 100-day in office on Thursday, Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, in a press parley, said the Agency had taken maritime domain security further with guidelines and regulations that would facilitate and fast-tract the judiciary to try such offenders as well as sending the right messages to the global committee.
He said: “We have sent good signals to the international communities and they understand that Nigeria is not sleeping, that the government of Nigeria is very serious in fighting this piracy.
“And then to those criminals, that they know we have trained 156 personnel from the Nigerian Navy, NIMASA, the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), the Nigeria Police Force, and the Attorney General of the Federation, whose responsibility it is to try these offenders.”
The NIMASA DG said that there would a single window of the of the Agency’s C4i, the Falcon Eye of the Nigerian Navy and that of the NPA’s CEi maritime domain security platforms to ensure operational effectiveness for a single national purpose.
He added that: “We have a Regional Maritime Coordinating Centre here in Lagos, in our Resource Centre. This Centre takes care of nine countries in Africa. Where ever there is challenge of safety, this Centre will be available to respond to that, and we have four Centers.
“Our Resource Centre is working perfectly, we have imported the machineries, and all equipment are there. We have another at Takwa Bay – the equipment are already there, we are waiting for the experts to come from the UK to programme the equipment. Once we do that, we are finished with Lagos/ Western axis.
“In the Eastern and South-South part of the country, we have Bonny and Escravous. So, this one, we are importing the equipment from the UK. As soon as COVID-19 lockdown eases, we hope to bring the equipment and install. We are looking between September/October and we have our own Global Maritime Distress and Safety System(GMDSS) working perfectly. With these, there is no way with ship missing of having problem within our territorial water and outside.”
He disclosed that for the platforms “we have two special mission vessels that we have cleared and they are around Navy Town, we have 17 Fast intervention Vessels – out of which we have received 14, remaining three. We have two special mission Aircrafts- to be received in August 2020.
“We have three special mission helicopters- to arrive Nigeria in January 2021. The C4i Centre is operational since the past one and half years now round the clock. We have special armoured vehicles – and we have received 14 out of the 17.”
A strong strategy by the Agency, Jamoh disclosed, is the creation of working groups comprised of international stakeholders with the knowledge of the international maritime organisation and local stakeholders, to identify problems plaguing the sector and proffering solutions.
“These international bodies include Intertanko, they are the biggest group that have tanker vessels. We have inter-cargo, they are a group of cargo owners that trade around the world.
“We also have BIMCO in this group. And this working group is chaired by NIMASA with these international bodies. Every month we do have meetings with representatives from the Nigerian Navy, Nigeria Police, Ministry of Transportation and representatives of the local stakeholders. We discuss common interest, what the problems on ground are, then we proffer solutions,” Jamoh said.
Importantly, on fleet expansion, Jamoh said the interest is to consider increase in terms of indigenous ownership, considering that there had been a continued reduction over the years as a result of economic situations and lack of government incentives in terms of ownership and the issue of non-disbursement of the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund(CVFF).
The good news is that the Ministerial Committee set up early 2020 for a review of the guidelines for a proposed disbursement of the CVFF, and chaired by the DG, would in the next few days endorse the reviewed guidelines for onward transmission to the Honourable Minister of Transportation, Jamoh said.
When that is done, the committee would begin to review applications of the individuals who are trying to access the funds. And according to Jamoh, “Our target is, before October this year, we will have to see the first disbursement of the CVFF.”