By Stephen Ubanna
Between March 2020, and now, the nation’s maritime sector , have never witnessed the kind of economic activities currently being witnessed, no thanks to Bashir Jamoh, Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA.
Jamoh has demonstrated in the last three months that he is a Career officer who understands the needs of the industry with the polices that had been churned out the aggressive pursuit of the anti-piracy war which is yielding results in all fronts.
Talk to the indigenous ship owners, who have gotten the Presidential approval to access the $194 million Cabotage Finance Fund, CVFF but waiting for the ministerial whistle to start, the Seafarers to the other key players in the country’s maritime sector, they are happy that the nation’s maritime sector have bounced back to life to the extent that the government now reckons with it.
Many believe that Jamoh could address the issue of the Stevedoring Companies because NIMASA, Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, Nigerian Shippers Council, NSC, Nigerian Inland Water ways Authority, NIMWA and Maritime Academy , oron, Akwa Ibom sate, agencies in the nation’s Maritime sector under the ministry of Transportation , have agreed to stick to their respective responsibilities as contained in the Law setting the up as a way to reduce cases of overlap in their functions.
It was not surprising why the agency has directed all dully registered Stevedoring Companies with Operational areas allotted to them by the Hajia Hadiza Bala Usman, led NPA, , which are yet to statart operation due to one reason or the other to mobilise to their locations. That much was confirmed by Philip Kyanet, an Assistant Director and the agency Head of Corporate Communications.
The directive, according to Kyanet, is contained in a recent Marine notice issued by the Maritime Regulatory agency, urging the affected Companies to ‘’to report any encumberances that may delay their operations to the agency’’. He pointed out that the directive was ‘’in line with the Stevedoring Regulation 2014 gazetted by the government and developed in pursuant to the NIMASA Act,2007’’.
The Jamoh led NIMASA Management was said to have also notified all Operators of ports, Jetties, Onshore, Offshore oil and gas, Bonded Terminals, Inland Container Depots, ICDs, Offshore Dock Terminals, Dry ports, Platforms and work locations to grant duly appointed Stevedoring Companies access to their premises for Commencement of Operations.
The NIMASA, Authorities may have shown that they truly understand the needs of the nation’s maritime sector when ‘’it said that only Corporate Organisations duly registered in Nigeria that should be allowed ‘’ to employ dock labour or engage in Stevedoring work on board or from ships’’.Such Corporate bodies, NIMASA officials said ‘’must have satisfied the requirements for registration specified in the Sevedoring Regulation , 2014, Act and obtained a Stevedoring license from NIMASA.
As a prelude to ensuring a smooth take off of the Stevedoring Companies and other dock labour employers in their various areas of operations, they were said to have been given the mandate ‘’to provide Insurance Cover for health, personal injury, loss of earnings and Compensation , relating to any incident affecting dock workers or stevedores in the course of the work of the dock labour employer or the Stevedoring Company.
Moreso, the agency has made it clear to the Stevedoring Companies and other dock labour employers that ’’they must provide proper and safe working conditions for the Convenience and proper working of its employees and ensure that all Stevedoring plants and equipment supplied and being used in their operations are safe and in good condition’’.
Stevedoring Companies and other dock labour employees that may want to flout the new NIMASA, set guidelines may have to watch it as the agency not spare them . Already Jamoh, the NIMASA , Director General, has made it clear to those that cares to listen that ‘’non –compliance with the new set guidelines set out in the Stevedoring Regulation, 2014, will face the Consequence.
He was said to have warned of ’ the dire consequences of non –compliance to the set out guidelines as the agency is out to enforce the Stevedoring 2014 Act, in addition to churning out other severe punishment for victims, such as detention of vessels, sealing of operational areas or work locations and prosecution of offenders. He is right.
The current prosecution of 10 Pirates arrested on Nigerian waters and the Gulf of Guinea under the country’s anti-piracy Law which was signed by President Muhammdu Buhari last June speaks volume. With the Prosecution of the Pirates under the anti-piracy L law, Jamoh, the NIMASA , boss has sent a signal to the Stevedoring Companies and other dock labour employers that it is no longer going to be business as usual with the enforcement of the new set guidelines which give no room for Compromise.