Maritime:  USCG Strengthens Relationship With NIMASA

By Stephen Ubanna

More facts have emerged why the he North American country of the United States Coast Guard, USCG, have agreed ‘’to offer  a three –year  plan  to work with the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, under the Leadership of Bashir Jamoh, OFR .

This because of the agency ability to contain the piracy activities in Nigerian waters and the Gulf of Guinea over the last three years that ocean going vessels laden with cargoes could now enter the Gulf Guinea, particular, with harassment of crew members by pirates and sea robbers or subjected to other violent crimes in the region. The NIMASA Authority was said to have also won the heart of its USCG, counterpart for the  removal of the Condition of Entry,  CoE,  placed  on  vessels  from Nigeria.

Juliet Hudson, a Naval Commander, may have gladdened the heart of Jamoh and his Management team, when she opened up on the issue at the USCG   headquarters in Washington DC, during a peer review visit of the Nigerian maritime regulatory agency delegation.

The USCG Naval Commande was said to have used the opportunity provided by the NIMASA officials visit  to announce a  bi-annual assessment  of compliance level  with the International Ship and Port Facility Security, ISPS, Coode, which is amendment to the safety of Life at Sea SOLASA,  Convention, 174/1988 at the Lagos ports of Apapa, Tincan Island , Port Terminal Multi-services Limited, PTML, phases I and II and the south eastern ports of Onne, Rivers port, PortHarcourt and Calabar port, Cross river state including Delta port , Warri, working with NIMASA officials over the years.

, Lt. Cdr Jonna Clause, USCG, Liaison officer in Nigeria, Capt. Elei Green Igbogi,Assistant Director, NIMASA & others, during a visit to USCG, Headquarters in Washington DC, United States of America

Hudson, the UCG, Commander who could not hide her feelings had was to have  told have assured the NIMASA delegation  during their visit to the Coast Guard’s Washing Dc, head office  that that that they will work with the agency  to review  the compliance  level  of  ports in the West African country of Nigeria  with th provisions of  the ISPS Code.  She had said that the peer review will be done twice in a year  to enable he USCG  personnel  ‘’update the Port Advisory  Security , PAS, portal  in the White House.

The Naval Commander is optimistic that after furnishing the PAS, White House portal,  a decision will taken by the US  government  to completely lift the CoE  for Nigerian vessels into US ports.  The NIMASA delegation may have left the USCG headquarters in Washington Dc, with a message to Jamoh, the agency Director General, that the Coast Guard officers are happy with the agency for ISPS   implementation at the nation’s seaports.

Isa Mudi, Head, ISPS, NIMASA, presented a souvenir by Cdr. Juliet Hudson, during a visit in USCG Headquarters, Washington DC

There is no gain saying the fact that NIMASA, is the only designated aritime agency in Nigeria responsible  for the implementation  of the ISPS  , Code in Nigeria. It is on record that over the last three years , NIMASA, under the Leadership of Jamoh, described as as workaholic in maritime circles has continued   to collaborate  with the Nigerian Navy,  which currently has Vice Admiral Emmabuel Ogalla, as the Chief of Naval Staff and other relevant agencies including the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, under the close watch of Mohammed Bello-Koko to achieve its mandate .

amoh, NIMASA, Chief Executive Officer, CEO, may have taken the message delivered to him from the USCG Authorities by the agency officials that had visited its headquarters at Washington DC, the country’s Seat of Power,   recently, over its compliance in the implementation of the provisions of the ISP Code because the commendation message had come from no other country but the U fromSCG. 

Note that the USCG controls the North American country’s coasts and international waters using cutters, aircraft, and intelligence to detect, intercept and disrupt dangerous and illegal activities such as drug smuggling and human trafficking.

The USCG, according to an informed source also regulates the operation of ocean going vessels and safeguards   the efficient movement of maritime commerce, valued at over $5 trillion annually in international waters including the Gulf of Guinea region, where NIMASA is currently doing a jood job by ensuring adequate security in the region.

In carrying out their jobs in the international waters, The Value News gathered that mariners are made to complete the USCG certified training to become licensed. An informed martime source told The Online Magazine without the mariners under- going the compulsory training programme they may not be issued operating permits as it has the powers to direct ports closed or opened for vessel traffic into its country’s ports. The USCG, may have acquired such enormous powers because its Managers directs ships  on critical waters across the world.

While Jamoh and his Management  team are yet to savour  the joy of being in the good book of the USCG, that  may soon pave the way for the removal of  the  CoE, for Nigeria vessels into US waters, the NIMASA , CEO, on  Friday, February 9, 2024,  had received  in audience  Lt. Benjamin Montz, led delegation  in Lagos, the nation’s Financial and Commercial Capital.

Jamkh, DG, NIMASA presents a souvenir to Lt. Benjamin Montz, USCG , during a visit in Lagos

An elated Jamoh, while acknowledging the support from past and present Government of the US, in seeing  to the implementation  of the ISPS Code  in Nigerian seaports , was aid to have  told the USCG  delegation to the agency  that ‘’any support  to Nigeria  would be extended  to Ghana, Togo, Benin Republic  Central African country of Cameroon,  and other member countries of the Gulf of Guinea region .The NIMASA helmsman,  was said to have made  he USCG officials on a visit to the agency to understand that that  Nigeria, which  had spent 195 million to procure maritime security  equipment from  Israel, to keep the country ‘s waters and the Gulf of Guinea region for ocean going vessels and their crew members have been alive to their duties.  He was emphatic that ‘’Nigeria is a major role to play in the Gulf of Guinea region’’.

Appealing to the US, Government   to  increase its support to Nigeria and countries in the Gulf o Guinea  region  in order to Consolidate   on the gains of the  Deep  Blue Project,  embarked upon by the Nigerian government ,  he noted that it is the only way to  further  bolster  the existing  ties  in the region.

Giving USCG role in training mariners, may have encouraged Jamoh, the NIMASA boss to call  on the  US  military agency  ‘’to assist  the Nigerian Maritime Regulatory agency  ‘’in the area of training irs  personnel’’, noting that a gap analysis  will  be done  and then synchronise  with the  Coast Guard  in order to give  the right training  to the right personnel

Osagie Edward, an Assistant Director and NIMASA , Head of Public Relations, may have re-emphasized what the NIMASA  Director General had said when  he reiterated that  the agency will  continue to collaborate with  other relevant government agencies  to achieve mandate with the USCG, providing the  the required support  and assistance  toward the realisaton  of a safer  and more secured  Nigeria waterways  and by extension the Gulf of  Guinea.

Lt Montz,  of the USCG , who had led the delegation to NIMASA, recently  may have corroborated what Cdr. Hudson, had said  at the agency headquarters  in Washington DC, when a NIMASA delegation  visited  that they will collaborate   with the agency  to improve safety  and security in the nation’s maritime sector , with particular reference to port operations. He was said to have also pledged that ‘’USCG will support NIMASA in the area of training its personnel’’, which the the NIMASA, had repeated drummed to the hearing of the US military agency personnel at any given opportunity both in Nigeria and in the United States.      

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