By Innocent Orok
The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) as the regulatory agency of maritime activities in Nigeria has continued to strive to keep to it’s mandate and inline with the International Maritime Organization (IMO) requirements for nation states under it’s watch to regulate and control it’s maritime domain with safety and security guidelines along it’s coast.
It is on record that the current administration at the agency led by Dr Bashir Yusuf Jamoh who took over the mantle of leadership on March 10th, 2020 has up- the – ante in repositioning the agency inline with his three point agenda of Maritime Safety, Security and Shipping development.
The agency and indeed the entire Nigerian Maritime Industry have witnessed a rapid transformation and safety in the sector in the last two years of the Bashir Jamoh’s administration.
To mark his two years in Office, we chronicled some of the modest achievements and drastic transformations the sector has witnessed so far, especially in the areas of maritime security and safety, capacity building, CSR, inter -agency collaboration and policy direction in Nigeria Shipping activities with Special focus on safety in Nigerian waters and the Gulf of Guinea.
According to statistics, the agency has continues to improve its Port and Flag state functions which is the core of maritime safety. The performance of the NIMASA in this regard in the last four years is highlighted below:
Port State Inspection (PSI):
To this end, the total Port State Inspection (PSI) in 2019 was 726 vessels out of the 5,035 vessels calls, which represents 10% improvement from the preceding year and 14.42% of the total ship call. This is however short of 15% requirement under IMO by 0.8% of which the agency said is working hard to surpass. Total Port State Inspections ( PSI) in 2020 was 510 out of 4,728 vessel calls. (COVID-19 lockdown impacted negatively on the Port State Inspections).
Also, in 2019, the agency performed a total of 2,580 Flag State Inspections representing 2,123 renewal inspections, 276 Condition Survey and 181 Random Flag State Surveys. This showed a 49% increase from the 1,737 Total Flag State Inspections carried out in 2018 comprising 1,241 Flag State Renewal Inspections, 381 Condition Surveys and 115 Random Flag State Surveys. However, the decrease in 2020 is attributed to the impact of COVID-19 pandemic ( see figures in table 2 above).
Sadly, the agency recorded 22 marine incidents in 2019 and 21 in 2018. Investigations were carried out while some are still on-going. NIMASA has put in tremendous efforts to mitigate the tide of maritime insecurity in Nigeria and the Gulf of Guinea through several maritime domain awareness interventions and collaborative efforts.
NIMASA’S EFFORTS IN ADDRESSING MARITIME INSECURITY IN NIGERIA AND THE GULF OF GUINEA:
a) Passage of the Suppression of Piracy and other Maritime Offences Bill.
b) Establishment of the Integrated National Maritime Surveillance and Security Infrastructure (commonly known as Blue Economy Infrastructure) which has improved the security and safety of Nigerian waters and the Gulf of Guinea.
c) International Ship and Port Facility Security (Code) Implementation: The implementation of the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code has steadily impacted on the level of security in the nation’s port areas and facilities.
d) Resuscitation of the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System(GMDSS) Equipment .
e) The Regional Maritime Awareness Capacity (RMAC) Centre .
f) International Collaboration: NIMASA is currently engaging international stakeholders, including BIMCO, INTERTANKO, INTERCARGO, International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) and Oil Companies International Maritime Forum-OCIMF, under the auspices of NIMASA/Industry Maritime Security Work Group (NIWG) to entrench coordinated response to piracy attacks.
g) Institutionalization of Collaboration with National Authorities: The agency has spearheaded the institutionalization of the collaboration between her and other frontline maritime agencies for improved maritime safety and security and efficient port operations.
CAPACITY BUILDING MILESTONES:
In this area , the agency has taken the following steps to develop and build capacity in the sector.
Human Capacity Development: Statutory financial contribution to Maritime Academy, Oron and the Nigerian Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP) with the 40/60 ratio between states and the agency, 50/50 ratio and 100% sponsorship by NIMASA.
Currently, the agency has trained over 2,600 Nigerian Seafarers in various credible maritime institutions in the United Kingdom, Egypt, Philippines, Malaysia, etc. Also, recently, the agency has secured the placement of over 400 cadets onboard ships for the Mandatory SEA-TIME training to make them globally competitive and employable.
The NIMASA has also sent some of its staff on long term training abroad to build internal capacities in various aspects of the maritime industry at the prestigious World Maritime University ( WMU), in Malmo, Sweden.
INDIGENOUS SHIPPING CAPACITY DEVELOPMENT:
The agency procured the 5th largest modular floating dockyard in Africa to reduce the cost of ship repairs and maintenance. This milestone achievement comes under a unique fund known as the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF), designed to provide financial assistance to Nigerian Operators in domestic coastal shipping to own vessels and enhance their competitiveness.
Fiscal and Monetary Policy Initiatives: NIMASA has continued it’s engagement with the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of government to entrench an appropriate fiscal and monetary policy initiatives to pave way for the competitive participation of indigenous operators in shipping activities in Nigeria. These includes, but not limited to:
i) A push for the change in terms of trade from Free On Board (FOB) to Cost Insurance and Freight (CIF ) for the affreightment of crude oil by the Nigerian Petroleum Company Limited.
ii) Single digit interest rate for the maritime sector by (CBN/NEXIM BANK/AFRIEXIM).
iii) Concessional foreign exchange rate for ship acquisition by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
iv)Engagement with Office of the Vice President/Economic Management Team.
v) NIMASA has also continued it’s engagement with State governments to buy into Cargo support initiative aimed at creating Cargo pool for affreightment by indigenous operators.
* Ship Tonnage Growth: The agency is aggressively repositioning the Nigerian Ship Registration Office (NSRO). To this end the Nigerian Ship Registration Office has recorded 13.8% tonnage growth from 2018 to 2019. This trajectory of growth was however negatively impacted by the global covid-19 pandemic. However, the Nigerian Ship Registry ranks second in tonnage measurement in Africa after Liberia which operates an open and more flexible registry. Also, the remodeling and commissioning of the NIMASA Knowledge Centre E-Library was achieve.Today, the facility is open to staff, students/researchers and external stakeholders/maritime operators to increase their knowledge base of the Nigerian Maritime Sector.
SPECIAL INTERVENTION: COVID-19 RESPONSE AND CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY (CSR ).
During the period of the Covid19 pandemic which ravage the world economies, the Executive Management of NIMASA recognizes the threat from the outset and the significant impact of the Corona Virus (COVID-19) pandemic on the Transport Sector in particular and the Global socio-economic activities in general, hence set up a multi-disciplinary Committee within the agency to provide an informed risk assessment with appropriate responses. A major intervention by the agency in ensuring the continued flow of trade was the declaration of Seafarers as KEY WORKERS to facilitate vital crew changes and excuse duty. Nigeria was among the first maritime nations to declare such and was commended by the IMO.
On the Corporate Social Responsibility ( CSR) intervention, NIMASA extended supports to both the Federal and State governments through the following donations: Cash donations of N30 million to the Federal Government’s Committee on COVID-19 Intervention.Donation of N20million cash to the Lagos State COVID-19 Intervention Task Force. The agency further provided human capital/personnel support in the following areas: Medical Personnel, Drivers, Logistic Officers and deployment of the agency’s Fire brigade trucks to fumigate Apapa and its environs.
LOGISTICS SUPPORT IN THE FIGHT AGAINST COVID-19
SPECIAL INTERVENTION: CSR FOR FLOOD VICTIMS AND IDP CAMPS
The agency by extension of it’s CSR incentives also presented relief items to victims of flood disasters across the country. Also, internally displaced persons benefited as a result of insurgency attacks in mostly the North East states and other states of the Country. Among the 20 states covered across the six geo-political zones by the agency’s kind gestures are: Kaduna, Kano, Cross River, Delta, Lagos and Niger State. Others are Benue, Ogun and Ondo States.
NIMASA under the two years regime of Dr Bashir Jamoh has scored and recorded several excellent grades in performance that has attracted commendations from National and International Organisations and bodies.
The International Maritime Organization (IMO)in December, 2020 applauded the efforts of the agency in the fight against piracy in the Gulf of Guinea Region.
Also, the Specialized Organ of the United Nation had earlier supported NIMASA action in declaring Seafarers as key workers to facilitate crew changes during the COVID-19 induced international lockdown. Recently, the IMO again gave institutional backing to NIMASA’s Marine Litter Action Plan. These and many other recognitions and accolades received by the agency in recent times are evident of the NIMASA”s collaboration with the IMO. However, the global shipping and economic climate was greatly impacted by the following in years 2020 through 2021, COVID-19
Lockdown, disruption in the global supply chain; and slow down in economic activities across the globe.
MARITIME SAFETY: On maritime safety which is one of the core function of NIMASA, the Flag State Implementation (FSO) on vessels inspected/surveyed in accordance with the safety requirements of the MSA 2007 was carried out and
conduct of Condition Survey for Flag Registration done. Comparing the number of vessels surveyed for flag registration relative to the previous year, it can be observed that the 2021 figure of 489 vessels is 43.6% higher than the total number of Condition Surveys carried out in 2020 which is 276 vessels.
( See table below).
PORT STATE CONTROL (PSC):
A total of 229 foreign vessels boarded to ensure that such vessels maintained safety/pollution standard while in our ports and waters.
Port State Control Implementation:
Comparing the number of vessels boarded in relative to the previous year, it can be observed that the 2021 figure of 673 vessels is 24.2% higher than the total number of inspections carried out in 2020 which is 510 vessels.
Examination and Certification:
Total exam conducted for officers at various capacity and certification for year 2020 and 2021 at the agency stood at 610 and 829 respectively. The total candidates that passed the exams and were Certificated for 2020/ 2021 were 251 and 264 respectively which form a 41% and 32% ratio. While the number of candidates that failed the exams in both years stood at 359 amounting to 59% in 2020 and 565 with 68% in 2021. As a result of this, the agency issued a total of 132 revalidated certificates in 2020 and 246 certificates in 2021.
Furthermore, the Examination conducted for Ratings by NIMASA in 2020/ 2021 stood at 1,327 and 1,251. Those that passed the exams and were Certificated are 990 (74%) in 2020 and 926 (74%) in 2021. While those Ratings that failed the NIMASA”s examination in 2020/2021 stood at 337 (26%) and 325 (26%) respectively.
Online Seafarers Certificate of Competency (CoC) Verification Platform reactivated:
This project deployed by the agency has drastically reduced forgery of Nigerian certificates and enhance the employment of Nigerian Seafarers in the maritime sector. Enforcement of Safety Regulations on Barges and Tug Boatds (Operation Sting Ray).ISO 9001 Quality Assurance Certification for the operation of the maritime Safety Department Approval of ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management System for the Maritime Safety and Seafarers Standard Department by Bureau Veritas (BV) in April 2020. Revival of the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) equipment – Necessary for sending alerts in an emergency. The GMDSS is to ensure safety of life at sea and Marine Accident Investigation Data/Information among others.
Marine Pollution Prevention and Control:
The Marine Environment Management
Nigeria has entered into MoU with Maritime Transport Coordination Centre (MTCC) on Climate Change for Africa to commence activities towards ensuring GHG emission reduction in the maritime sector with emphasis on achieving 0.5% Sulphur Oxide (SO2) in Bunker fuel oil. The agency also adopt the following tools, Awareness creation,Establishment of bunker (fuel oil) supply register,
Accreditation of laboratories for testing bunker oil, Capacity building on emission of reduction; and Establishment of Compliance monitoring and Enforcement Team (CMET).
IOPC 92: This produced manual for the admissibility of claims under the fund.
The manual is to contain the price index for determining the quatum of claims for settlement in case of oil pollution and
Update on the Trinity Spirit FPSO.
MARITIME SECURITY- DEEP BLUE PROJECT:
The Deep Blue Project was flagged off by His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday, 21st May, 2021 in Lagos State. The agency has taken delivery of key assets of the Deep Blue Project including: Two Special Mission Vessels (SMVs), Seventeen Fast Interceptor Boats (FIBs), Two Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAVs) and Sixteen Armoured Vehicles. Some of these assets have been deployed to the Nigerian Navy for its operational use.
The Regional Maritime Awareness Capacity (RMAC) Centre located at Kirikiri area of Lagos State has been upgraded by the US Navy to SEA VISION to allow for monitoring of vessels along the West and Central African region.
NIMASA/Industry Working Group: On this aspect, the agency has engage in
International collaboration among major international stakeholders in the maritime/shipping sector. This is to entrench coordinated response to piracy and other criminalities on the Nigerian waters and prompt reportage and escalation of marine incidences to where action is most expected and to provide navigational advisory to mariners.
Also the Maritime Security & Intelligence Unit of the agency is today deploying intelligence and information gathering and sharing that can help to stop piracy.
Collaboration with Security Agencies: NIMASA under Dr Bashir Jamoh has ignited the collaborative prowess of other security agencies to formed a synergy to tackle the security and infractions that are affecting the sector.
At the strategic level, the NIMASA ensures a close liaison with the offices of the National Security Adviser (NSA), Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Chief of Air Staff, Chief of Army Staff and the Inspector General of Police ( IGP).
The agency has played a pivotal role in the institutionalization of the collaboration between her and other government agencies for improved maritime security and safety.
PIRACY INCIDENTS IN THE GULF OF GUINEA
KIDNAPPING INCIDENTS IN THE GULF OF GUINEA
International Ship and Ports Security (ISPS).
The total number of currently operational onshore facilities in the ISPS Unit is 98 which is divided into six maritime zones for ease of administration because of their locations and accessibility, while some zones are further subdivided.
In 2020, the VIEs carried out as detailed below for the four quarters are :
Lagos subdivisions : Apapa 9, Kirikiri 12, Ijora & Ijegun 8 in first & second quarter and 11 in last quarter. Others are Tincan Island 8, Port Harcourt 11, Calabar 9, Onne 9, Eket 4 and Warri 16 Totalling 87 (Eighty–Seven).
In 2021, the VIEs carried out as detailed below for the four (4) quarters in
Lagos subdivisions are Apapa 10, Kirikiri 12, Ijora 7, Ijegun 7, Tincan 8. While in the Eastern region, Port Harcourt had 13, Calabar 8, Onne 10, Eket 3, and Warri 17, totalling 96 (Ninety–Six).
Shipping Promotion and Capacity Development- Shipping Promotion:
The Agency has engage in the following to boost Shipping Promotion- Concessions to boost indigenous ownership, Strengthen enforcement of Cabotage to boost local participation, Capactiy development, National Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP) by training of over 2,600 Nigerian Seafarers in various maritime institutions worldwide. And a good number of them who have completed their programmes are now gainfully employed onboard vessels.
Others are Assets – Approval for CVFF disbursement to assist in vessel acquisition by indigenous Nigerian Shipowners – Most Nigerian Operators in domestic coastal shipping now own vessels and enhance their competitiveness. Learning Infrastructure Upgrade with the Completion of the renovation and furnishing of the conventional library, Digitization of the conventional library books/other resource materials and Renewal of e-library management software.
2022 IN FOCUS:
The agency Management team led by Dr Bashir Jamoh has already set it’s targets and possibly deliverables for the 2022 fiscal year and these includes:
•To strengthen Nigeria’s maritime safety and security enforcement mechanisms.
•Organise stakeholders’ engagement towards harnessing the potentials of a blue economy.
•Enhance revenue for increased contribution to the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF).
•Movement of the agency’s Headquarters to its newly acquired building in Victoria Island.
•Operationalization of the floating dock.
•Establishment of Regional Maritime Safety and Security Training Centres.
•Build Regional Maritime Search and Rescue Clinic.
•Resuscitate Lokoja office.
•Construction of NIMASA Zonal Offices in (Central Zone and Eastern Zone) among others.