The Director General (DG) of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Bashir Jamoh, said that the growth potential and high expectations of maritime players for the industry will only be realized by the development of a harmonized system of Port State Control Inspection Procedures for West and Central Africa.
Jamoh made this known while addressing the Chief Executives of all the Maritime Administration signatories of the Abuja MoU during the workshop organized by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) on the control by the port State for the West and Central Africa region.
IMO is a MoU partner, Abuja MoU, in organizing the Regional Workshop for Heads of Maritime Administrations in Lagos.
Jamoh, who was represented by the Agency’s Executive Director, Operations, Mr Shehu Ahmed, identified the importance of effective port state control systems for the effective functioning of Member States’ maritime administrations, according to a Statement by Deputy Director, NIMASA, Edwards Osagie.
According to him, “provisions relating to port State control are contained in the provision of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) under the duties and responsibilities of flag States, coastal States and port, and they are also highlighted as part of the application in all major IMO conventions and some ILO conventions.
“This function involves the application of applicable IMO and ILO conventions that have been passed down to us as signatory states for incorporation into our national laws,” he said.
“NIMASA”, he continued, “executes four legal instruments in accordance with our international obligations – the Merchant Shipping Act; the NIMASA Act; the Cabotage Act and the most recent being the SPOMO Act – for the repression piracy and other maritime offences.
While declaring NIMASA’s unwavering commitment to the Abuja Memorandum of Understanding in its aim to reduce sub-standard vessels, reduce marine pollution and ensure good working conditions for crew members at aboard ships in Member States waters, Jamoh urged the 22 member countries of the Abuja Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control (Abuja MoU) to improve their financial contributions to the organization
Also speaking, the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Transport, Dr. Magdalene Ajani, who represented the Vice President of the Abuja MoU and the Honorable Minister of Transport, Hon. Rotimi Amaechi, commended the training/workshop organizers for their commitment to developing the most critical resource of all, namely the human element.
For his part, the Secretary General of the Abuja MoU, Captain Sunday Umoren, identified the need for continued capacity building and networking initiatives to garner support from key maritime administrations. .
This, he said, will foster productive working relationships, which in turn will collectively benefit member states’ maritime industries.
Captain Umoren revealed that only 14 countries are currently carrying out inspections in the region.
He therefore called for a campaign for an effective inspection regime focusing on standards of training, certification and watchkeeping (STCW), saying detentions are not the best metrics to measure the effectiveness of enforcement by the Port status.
The Abuja MoU is one of 9 regional MoUs and 1 national MoU established in accordance with IMO Resolution A.682(17) of 1991.
By: Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos