Maritime: Dominguez, SG, IMO, Throws His Weight Behind Mobereola, DG, NIMASA,To Succeed

By Stephen Ubanna

For the four years that Bashir Jamoh, a technocrat, who was catapulted from the position of an Assistant Director to the exalted office of the Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, by former President Muhammadu Buhari, he had enjoyed the support of Kitack Lim, the immediate past Secretary General of the Internal Maritime Organiation, IMO, a maritime agency of the United Nations, UN, in order to deliver on his three ‘’s’’ agenda: maritime safety, maritime security and shipping development.

Jamoh, the erstwhile Director General of NIMASA, may have taken advantage of the support from the former IMO, Secretary General and Heads of other international Organizations to give the pirates, sea robbers and other criminal elements operating in Nigerian waters and the Gulf of Guinea a decisive blow that they were forced to relocate to other countries within the Gulf Guinea region to carry out their nefarious activities.

With the change of baton in NIMASA, as President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who could not reappoint Jamoh after the expiration of his first term in office on March 10, 2024, had replaced him with Dayo Moberela, who may   no haven  a maritime neophyte as he had served as Commissioner of Transportation, during the Administration  of Akinwumi Ambode, a former governor of Lagos state  between 2015 and 2016, which may have  given  much insight into maritime activities at both the state and Federal levels and thus became  exposed to top officials of  IMASA  and Nigerian Inland Water Ways Authority, NIWA as they were said to have held regular discussions to resolve their  differences.

Dominguez: SG, IMO: commends Mobereola over appointment as DG, NIMASA

  In the same way that Lim , the former IMO , Secretary General had supported Jamoh to fulfill his mandate in office,  Arsenio  Dominguez Velasco,  from the Republic  of Panama, who has been confirmed   as the current  Secretary General  of IMO, by the General Assembly ,  on December 30, 2023, when Lim Left office, and who had  effectively took over on January 1, 2024,  appears to have given his words to Mobereola,  ‘’to support him build on the great work   that has already been done  by his predecessors’’.

Until Jamoh, the former, Director General of NIMASA, finally left office on March 10, 2024, he was said to have plans on the implementation of the full agenda of the IMO,   from safety to carbonization, digitalization to human capital development which looks towards the future of building the global maritime industry.

 The new NIMASA Chief Executive Officer, CEO, who was also said to be faced with the problems of addressing the country’s climate change,   diversity, inclusion and transparency which are all part of the agenda of the IMO, for the member maritime 30 member- maritime nations appears to have also taken it as a challenge that will be implemented by his administration.

Dominguez, the new Secretary General of IMO,  who is looking forward to leading   the IMO  and to continue working with the all the member nations including Nigeria  to ensure that the best are achieved  for them and  all other stakeholders  including the seafarers  had  congratulated   Mobereola, over his over appointment as DG, NIMASA , by the Nigerian President.

Osagie Edward, an Assistant Director and spokesperson of NIMASA,  had said that in a conveyance the   letter  personally signed  by  the new IMO, Secretary General,  he had  recognized the giant strides of  the agency   over the years in building  ‘’a robust  maritime sector  in Nigeria’’.  He was said to have commended the significant effort, initiatives   and investment in Nigeria by the past government which was said to have gone a long way in strengthening   the country’s maritime institutions.

He may have alluded to the North American country of the United States, US, $195 million spent by the Nigerian government  to procure 16 Armoured vehicles  for coastal patrol, 17 Interception Boats, two Special Mission Vessels, two Special Mission Aircrafts  for Surveillance operations  and three Special Mission for helicopters  for Search and Rescue operations  and procurement of four additional  Unmanned  Aerial Vehicles  for the NIMASA ,deep sea Project and  the C4i Centre believed to have had a meaningful  impact   on the country’s shipping and freight costs  as the Nigeria Navy , under the close watch of Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla , the anti – overseeing the operation and maintenance of the sea security assets with the support of the Nigeria Air Force overseeing the air equipment have taken the battle  to pirates and sea robbers hideouts to comb the criminal elements out.

  Although, there had been an attack on  a Marshall  Islands Flagged MT Nyon  vessel since the  Navy and the Air Force , actually  mobilized the maritime security assets on site but that appears to be the last of such attacks  as the Naval personnel had intensified patrol of the Nigerian waters and the Gulf of Guinea to forestall future attacks.  

Note that the   Suppression  of Piracy  and other Maritime Offences, SPOMO,  Act, 2019, is another of  such government investments  on the nation’s maritime industry that was said to have set  ‘’a new standard  in the Gulf of Guinea   region in maritime  security capacity building in the recent years’’.

Many believe that Mobereola, the NIMASA, boss has much to benefit from the technical knowledge of   Dominguez, the IMO, Chief, and who, until his approval as the Secretary General of the IMO, by the General Assembly Council, in late December,  2023, was the UN Maritime agency of Director of   Marine  Environment Division    had was said to have also   chaired   ‘’the maritime Security –Piracy and Sea robbery Working Group under the auspices of the IMO’S maritime safety Committee during Lim’s tenure.

 Recall that he had also served as the Chief of Staff, CoS, to Lim, the immediate past IMO, Secretary General and later as the Director of the agency Administrative Division in 2020, which may have informed why Heads of maritime   bodies of member maritime nations of the IMO, and even worked at at Braswell Shipyard in his  home country , Panama, which may have informed why industry stakeholders had described  him as a global maritime encyclopedia.

The IMO Secretary General may have emboldened Mobereola, the NIMASA, CEO, to do his job, when he stated that ‘’the focus of his Administration will be based on strengthening maritime law enforcement and  maritime security architecture ‘’, believed to have  been welcomed by the seafarers  and the Flag States.

There is o gain saying the fact that past and present Leadership of IMO, has long ‘’supported the regional role  of the Yaounde  Code of Conduct  for its member states including Nigeria, the most populous West African sub-region , in strengthening  maritime security  and law  enforcement’’.  Dominguez, the IMO , Secretary General, who could not hide his feelings  had said that the UN , maritime agency   had ben greatly  encouraged  with the continuation  of the he regional  ownership   of the regional security outfit   with the Formation and work of  the Gulf of Guinea Maritime Collaboration  Forum  and Shared Awareness  and Deconfliction, GoG-MCF/SHADE, 2021.

An elated Dominguez, was said to have used the opportunity of his confirmation by the IMO General Assembly  and in sending  out congratulatory message to Mobereola, the NIMASA, new Director General,  to commend the agency’s partnership  with the various  regional organizations and expressed  readiness of the Leadership of the IMO, to work with Nigeria and other member states  on many maritime issues, particular, carbonization, Climate change,  sea robbery and Piracy and tackling these issues headlong.

He noted that  NIMASA’s  partnership  with the  Interregional  Coordination Centre, ICCC,  and the Collaboration  with the  Shipping  Industry stakeholders and the Yaounde, Cameroon,  architecture  has been instrumental in suppressing  the threat of piracy attacks on ocean –going vessels, and their Crew embers  in line with  the UN, Security Council Resolution   2634, of 2022 , on piracy and sea robbery  in the Gulf of Guinea  and IMO, General Assembly  Council  resolution  A.II59,32.

The IMO Secretary General, may have gladdened the heart of Mobereola and his Management team in the letter sent to him, when he declared:  I look forward to working to working with you and your Management team on many of the maritime security issues that we are currently jointly tackling   together. He was said to have stated further that he hopes to welcome, the NIMASA CEO in person at the IMO Headquarters, in London, United Kingdom, where they could talks, and by   listening, understand each other better  by sharing their aims and aspirations that could assist them to deliver on their individual mandates in their respective Organisations.  

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