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NIMASA expands resources to deepen marine environment management

    …Remodels marine pollution lab for analysis

As one of its primary responsibilities,
the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has improved a
number of its resources to further manage the marine environment, particularly
in prevention of marine pollution from shipping activities.

Director General of NIMASA, Dr.
Dakuku Peterside, disclosed this in Lagos on Friday, while briefing newsmen on
some of the agency’s achievements for the year 2019.

“NIMASA is currently remodeling
the Marine Pollution Laboratory to an internationally accepted modern. This
will take care of the laboratory analysis aspects of the relevant IMO Marine
Environment Conventions (such as the Oil Pollution Preparedness and Response
Cooperation (IOPC) Ballast Water Convention, Anti-Fouling Systems (AFS) when
completed,” the NIMASA DG said.

Within that primary
responsibility, NIMASA has put in place global standard architecture for the
detection and tracking of dangerous goods that may be shipped into the country.

In doing that, Dr. Peterside
said: “NIMASA has developed an International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG)
portal and installation of exact Earth and Hazcheck Systems software for
tracking of dangerous goods in Nigeria.

“This activity was in fulfillment
of chapter 7 of the Safety of Life At Sea (SOLAS) Convention and Annexes 2 and
3 of MARPOL Convention.  The identified
gaps in the management of chemicals and hazardous wastes management in the
maritime domain had been addressed.”

The Agency is doing a lot in the
area of managing and maintaining the country’s marine environment by engaging
the services of marine litter marshals, in its determination to ensure cleaner
oceans safe for navigation.

To drive compliance with the
International Maritime Organisation (IMO) sulphur limits of 0.5 % for ship
fuel, Dr. Peterside said NIMASA was strategically engaging relevant
stakeholders including  the Department of
Petroleum Resources(DPR), the NNPC Refinery, the Nigeria Customs Service, Ship
Owners and ship-owning companies to that effect.

He said: “This is to ensure that
we have available fuel that meets that international condition, including the
standard operating procedure of Nigeria, so that if you are importing fuel to
be used as ship bunker, it must meet that condition.

“So, we are developing an
enforcement regime; we are building the capacity of our own people in-house to
enforce the new regime. We are very serious about the new sulphur content
unit-cap regime in 2020.”

Peterside said the agency also
recorded remarkable performance in its Port State and Flag State functions,
just as it did in the certification of seafarers.

He noted that NIMASA issued more
Certificate of Competence (CoC) certifying more seafarers in the last two years
than it did in the previous three years.

On the revival of the ship
registry, Dr. Peterside said the
target is to ensure attainment of international certification standards
and be able to compete favourably with the best in the global maritime

To improve service delivery and
shipping development, NIMASA introduced what it called the Final Billing System,
which helped to address the issues of double billing and over/under billing
with the creation of a platform for dispute resolution.

According to the DG, “The system
ensures appropriate closure on all vessel transactions within a period of two
weeks after departure. This has led to improved customer satisfaction.” 
For maritime domain security,
NIMASA has maintained levels of relevant collaborations to build and maintain a
strong security architecture to prevent attacks and ensure protection of lives
and businesses operating in the sector.

Speaking on the forthcoming NIMASA
Corporate Dinner and Merit Awards planned for January 18th, Dr.
Peterside said that the event, holding at Eko Hotel and Suites, Victorial Island Lagos, would attract the global maritime community to
come and celebrate excellence by different industry stakeholders in Nigeria.

Staffers of the Agency would also
be recognized and honoured accordingly for remarkable performances on the job,
Dr. Peterside added.

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