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 community.

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.