Stories by Stephen Ubanna
Jim Hamilton, Deputy Head of International Maritime Security Operations Team, IMOST, who led a United Kingdom, Team, on a working visit to Nigeria, ‘’to assess the level of compliance of port facilities in the country’’ , particular, the implementation of the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code, ISPS Code’’, appear to have impressed satisfaction going by what he saw on ground: the synergy between the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, and other relevant maritime agencies in the country.
Shehu Ahmed, the agency Executive Director, Operations, who had received the UK, Maritime Organisation Team, on behalf of Bashir Jamoh, the Director General, may have made the UK Team, to understand to understand that there was no cause to worry about the implementation of the ISPS Code in the Nigeria because ‘’it is a major component of the country’s security architecture the agency is implementing in the Nigerian maritime domain.
The NIMASA Executive Director, who could not hide his feelings noted that the importance of an effective implementation of the ISPS Code regime cannot be overemphasized. He disclosed that this may have necessitated why the Nigerian government has domesticated the International Maritime Organisation, IMO ISPS Code Implementation Regulations during the Administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan in 2014. Note the ISPS Code regime is an integral aspect of the Safety of Life at Sea, SOLAS, Convention. The NIMAA top official, who could not hide his feelings had welcomed ‘’the peer review mechanism from IMSOT of the ISPS Code.
Hear him: We at NIMASA have such a peer review arrangement with the United Coast Guard, which has been highly effective in developing capacity for the ISPS Code Implementation in Nigeria. He further stated that the agency is currently working to extend the relationship to other countries in the West and Central African sub-regions.
He may have spoken the mind of Jamoh, the agency Chief Executive Officer, CEO, when he disclosed that by extending peer review of the ISPS Code to other countries in the African Continent, it will go a long way to ensure that the African Continent maritime personnel ‘’possess the requisite skills and Competencies to execute their responsibilities in line with the mandate of the ICIR of 2014.
According to him, the importance of the exposure of the NIMASA personnel ‘’to ‘’the legal regimes and security operations of other contracting governments to peer review of the ISPS, is not lost on the country’’. The NIMASA boss was said to have assured the UK Team, on a working visit to Nigeria, that ‘’steps have been taken in all fronts by the agency to address areas of concerns that was said to have been raised during their last visit to the country I n 2018.
He was aid to have also told the UK Team that that NIMASA is also taking bold initiatives to tackle the activities of Pirates in Nigerian waters and the Gulf of Guinea through the Deep Blue Project, in which the government had spent $195 million to engage the services of an Israeli Security firm, HLSI , Security Systems and Technologies Limited to supply for the use of NIMASA anti-piracy operations 16 Interception boats, 17 Armoured vehicles for Coastal Patrol, Two Special Mission Vessels, Two Special Mission aircrafts for Surveillance of Exclusive Nigerian Economic Zone, EEZ, and three Unmanned Aerial vehicles. The Nigeria apex maritime agency had engaged the Nigerian Navy, which is overseeing the operations and maintenance of the vessels and the Nigerian Air Force, NAF, which is overseeing the Two Special Mission aircrafts and the three unmanned Aerial vehicles. It is surprising why the agency has continued to witness a drastic decline in piracy operations in Nigerian waters and the Gulf of Guinea , over the last two years.
The NIMASA, Executive Director, Operations, may not have disappointed Jamoh, in receiving the UK Team, as he was said to have also told them an insight on the agency efforts in dealing with maritime of ences, since the passage of the Suppression of Piracy and Other Maritime Offences , SPOMO , bill, by the National, which had been assented into Law , by the Katsina state born Nigerian President in 2019.
Hamilton, who had led the UK, visiting Team, to Nigeria, may have gladdened the heart of Jamoh and his Management Team when he expressed satisfaction at the level of cooperation and synergy existing among all the maritime related agencies in the country. He has given his words, that the IMSOT, will share knowledge with NIMASA ‘’to ensure optimum implementation of the ISPS Code in Nigeria’’.
Osagie Edward, an Assistant Director, and NIMASA spokesperson, disclosed that the IMSOT Deputy Head, who was satisfied with the efforts so far put by the agency to contain criminal activities in Nigerian waters and the Gulf of Guinea had said that they will share ideas on their Operations in the UK with NIMASA and also train personnel of the agency ‘’to foster better cooperation with Nigeria’’.
The NIMASA spokesman further stated that the UK, IMSOT top official, further noted that ‘’the initiative will not only foster collaboration and cooperation between the two countries, through knowledge acquisition and sharing among other countries but would go a long way ‘’to consolidate the gains in implementing the ISPS regime Code as well as identify areas of improvement for both parties’’.