NIMASA: Jamoh’s Two Years Of Impressive Performance And Focus For 2022

 By Stephen Ubanna

 When Bashir Jamoh was appointed the Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, in March 10, 2020, by President Muhammadu Buhari, a retired Army General, not many industry stakeholders gave him the opportunity to succeed.  This is because of the enormous challenges before him ranging from problems of Safety,maritime security to ship development and turning the Nigerian maritime sector into a world class.

The Jamoh led NIMASA, Management Team of bright minds were said to have anchored their programme on ”maritime security, maritime safety and ship development”, described as the three ‘’S’’ in maritime circles.

Signs that the NIMASA new Management Team would make quite appreciable impact in the nation’s maritime sector began to manifest on their first 100 days in office and which began to improve as the months go by as they began to break new grounds, thus sending a message to the Pirates operating in Nigerian waters and the Gulf of Guinea including other water ways criminal gangs that ”it is no longer going to be business as usual”.

 A visitor to the Nigerian ports today would attest to the fact that much changes have been introduced and that new security and safety measures are being implemented that would make Nigeria waters and the Gulf of Guinea, a safe haven for ocean going vessels.Even a former Director General of the agency who could not hide his feelings about  what has been achieved  by Jamoh and his Team  has given kudos to them, urging ”to do more, to achieve their aim of turning Nigerian maritime into a ‘’world class .

Within the two years that Jamoh and his Management Team have piloted the Affairs of the agency, they have succeeded in turning it into one of the government revenue  generating  agencies as it could pay the excess of the revenue generated after its operational and staff welfare spending into the Federation Account .Although, the agency yearly revenue generation is not yet in the class of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporaion, NNPC, Nigeria Customs Service, NCS or the Federal Inland Revenue Service FIRS, but it is seen as a good way to start.

The NIMASA Director General may have gladdened people’s mind when he revealed    that the agency paid NN37, 691,450.20 million into the Federation Account in 2021, after blocking all the areas of revenue leakages compared to the N31. 84 million that was said to have been paid by the agency into the Consolidated Revenue Account in 2020. The impressive revenue paid into the Federation Account in 2021, may have informed why the agency has projected to pay N50 million into the Account at the end of 2022.


 Acting out the script of some of the domesticated International Maritime Organisation, IMO, Conventions may have spurred the Jamoh and his Team into action.  Some of the Laws  that were said to have guided Team in taking vital decisions to govern the nation’s maritime sector  include  the Safety At Sea, SOLASA,   Convention, 1974,  the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against  The Safety OF Marine Navigation Convention, , SUA, OF 1988&Protocol of 2005, COLERG 72,LoadLines, LL16, and Tonnage Measurement , 69, MARPOL.

 This is in addition  to the provisions  under the Memorandum of Understanding, MOU,  in which Nigeria, as a Port State has the responsibility  of carrying out  a minimum  of 15% inspections of vessels  calling at the nation’s seaports. The agency staff and its other security agencies Collaborators personnel were said o have boarded and inspected 726 vessels   out of the 5,035 vessels had called at the ports.

Insiders had said that the number of vessels boarded and inspected by the agency under the Jamoh Leadership had continued to increase in lips and bounds. This evident as the agency had continued ‘’to improve  on its port and flag state functions’’, which industry stakeholders had said is the core of maritime safety.

Indeed, there have been a steady growth in the number of vessels calling at the Lagos port of Apapa, Tin can Island, Port Multi-services Terminal Limited, PTML, Kirikiri Lighter Terminal , KLT, phases I &II, between 2017 and now. Take for instance, in 2017, the agency and other security agencies personnel , had boarded and inspected 525  vessels

. The number rose to 659 in 2018, and further increased to 726 in 2019 of the over 5,0000 vessels  that had called at the ports that year but dropped  and 510 in 2020 of the 4,728 vessels that was said to have called at the ports. The drop on the inspected vessels was attributed to theoutbreak of the Asian country of China emerged coronavirus , popular, COVID 19, forcing many foreign shipping companies to scale down their operations and stop coming to the African Continent.  The agency Inspectors, , according to the NIMASA, Director General,  boarded and inspected  675  vessels  or 242 percent  increase over the 2020 figure.

 This is also about 10% more than the 14.42% figure   achieved in their first year in office, which was a combination of the number of vessels boarded and inspected under the then Dakuku Peterside Administration and what was achieved under his regime. Insiders informed The Value News that much of the vessels boarded and inspected during the period were carried out under him.

Notwithstanding the improvement in the number of vessels boarded and inspected by the agency in Jamoh’s two years in office, many  believe that ‘’it still falls short of the 15% requirement under the IMO Law by 0.8%’’. A source told The Magazine that the Management has put the necessary structures in place ”to surpass the figure in the coming year and beyond”.

There are indications that the agency carried out276 condition Survey and 181 Random Flag State Surveys.   This shows a 49% increase from the total 1,737 total Flag State Inspections that was carried out in 2018,   comprising 1,241, Flag State Surveys.  Enough of the Jamoh’s led NIMASA, Management Team efforts at addressing   maritime safety challenges at the nation’s ports.   

Now, we turn to agency’B efforts at addressing another core agenda of the Administration which is maritime security. The signing into Law of  the Suppression of Piracy  and other Maritime Crimes,   passed by the National Assembly in June 2019  and the establishment of  the Integrated  National Maritime  Surveillance  and Security Infratructure, popular, Deep Blue Project,   by the Katsina state born Nigerian President , may have given the Jamoh’s Team the ammunition  to confront squarely the Pirates, kidnappers and other Criminal gangs  operating in the Nigerian waters and the Gulf of Guinea.

Lim: IMO Secretary General, Commends Jamoh And His Management Team For their Anti-Piracy effort

The agency may have taken the country’s anti-piracy war  to a new height, which had been acknowledged by Kitact Lim, the IMO, Secretary General, because of the drop in pirates attacks on ocean going vessels in the last two years. Maritime analysts believe that this had been possible with the Buhari Administration procurement of maritime security tools for the Deep Blue Project valued at at about $195 million.

The list of maritime security tools that was  procured by the government  through an Israeli firm for the Deep Blue project  include  16 Armoured vehicles  for Coastal Patrol, 17 Interception Boats,  Two Special Mission Vessels, Two Special  Mission Vessels, currently being operated and maintained by the Nigerian Navy, Two Special Mission Mission aircrafts  for Surveillance of Nigeria’s Exclusive Economic Zone, EEZ, operated and maintained by the Nigerian Air Force,  and Two unmanned Aerial vehicles.  

 Note that in 2021, the agency had pursued the case of some arrested Pirates with the support of the Navy. The Nigeria Court had convicted 10 of the Pirates in 2021   and more suspects are still being prosecuted in various Federal High Courts in Lagos and PortHarcout

 The impressive performance of the agency in anti-piracy way is evident with the continued drop in the attack on ocean-doing vessels in Nigeria waters and the Gulf of Guinea in the last two ears. The NIMASA boss had recently confirmed that in 2021 the number of attacks on ocean going vessels by Pirates operating in the Gulf of Guinea was 34 described as very ”encouraging” by stakeholders.

 The impressive performance of the agency in the anti-piracy war in Nigeria n waters and the Gulf of Guinea, may have informed why the Korea government had donated a maritime security vessel to NIMASA, which the Director General had said would require $1.4 million to bring it to the country to strengthen the agency anti-piracy war. 

NIMASA Special Mission Vessel For Anti-Piracy Operation

Other  measures initiated by the Administration   that was said to have assisted  it  in tackling the activities of Pirates in all its ramifications   was the upgrading and ‘ implementation of  the International Ship and Port Facility  Security , ISPS,  CODE, and the resuscitation  of the Global Maritime  Maritime  Disress  and Safety system, GMDSS, Equipment, at Takwa Bay in Lagos, Bonny, Rivers state and Oron , Akwa Ibom state and the radar  installation  in Takwa Bay and Escravos Bonny Rivers and Oron.

 The resuscitated GMDSS, was said to have complemented in several ways   the agency satellite  facility  as well as boosted  its domain awarenes response capability since it became fully Operational with the efforts put in by the Jamoh’s Administration to make it work.

 This is in addition to the establishment of the Regional Maritime Centre, in Cameroon, Central African subregion, and the agency collaboration with other International Stakeholders including BIMCO, INTERTANKO, INTERCARGO, Internal Chamber of shipping Companies, ICS and Oil Companies International Maritime Forum, OCIMF, under the auspices   of NIMASA/Industry Security Work Group, NIWG.

  According to Jamoh, the NIMASA, boss, these efforts are ”geared towards entrenching a coordinated response  to piracy attacks in Nigeria waters and the Gulf of Guinea”. The Institutionalisation of collaboration with other maritime agencies: the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA Nigerian Shippers Council, NSC and Nigerian Inland Waterways Authority, NIWA.  Port operators believe had led to ‘’the agency’s improved  maritime Safety and Security  and efficient port operations in the last two years’’.

One area which port Operators believe  Jamoh and his Management Team need to put  more effort to ensure its actualizsation was  the  Cabotage Vessels Finance Fund, CVFF, which was established  by the Olusegun Obasanjo’s  Administration to provide Financial Assistance  to Nigerian operators  in domestic coastal shipping  ‘’to own vessels  and enhance their competitiveness with foreign shipping companies’’.

Cabotage Vessel

 As at May 2o21, the CVFF, was said to have grown to $209 million, in foreign currency and N132 billion , in Local currency. The CVFFF,   is a three percent charges collected by NIMASA on ships calling at the nation’s ports. Informed sources told the Magazine that the Fund has continued to grow on a daily basis.  Investigations by the Magazine shows that both not for spending part of the Fund by the former Jonathan’s Administration it would ave been more the present amount in the Fund.

 The Federal ministry of Transportation, under the close watch of Rotimi Amechi, a former governor of Rivers state and the agency may have delayed the disbursement of the Fund because of the offensive government Monetary and Fiscal policy initiatives.

Perhaps to get a good deal for the industry stakeholders, the agency had continued to engage the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, in order  ‘’to entrench an appropriate monetary and fiscal policy initiative  to pave the  way  for the  competitive  participation  of the indigenous operators in shipping activities in Nigeria’’.

The agency was said to have further pushed for a single digit interest   rate   for the nation’s maritime sector  rate for  ship Acquisition the maritime sector with the CBN, Nigerian Export Bank, NEXIM, African Exim Bank, Affriexim Bank. The agency according to insider information are also seeking for a Concessional foreign exchange for ship procurement.  The agency was said to have engaged the of the office of Yemi Osibanjo, the Vice President and the Economic Management Team, to soften the ground for indigenous ship operators to get Concessional rate.

The NIMASA Director General, also was said to be pushing the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, baptized Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, NNPC, with the passage of the Petroleum Industry PIB, by the National Assembly which had been signed into Law by the retired Army general for the change of terms of trade from Free Ob Board, FOB to Cost, Insurance, Freight, CIF, for the affreightment of the country’s Crude Oil by foreign shipping companies.

 It is instructive to note that he agency has continued its engagement with the state governments as well, ‘’to buy into its cargo support initiative aimed at creating cargo pool for affreightment by indigenous shipping companies. The agency was said to have improved the nation’s tonnage growth rate which had led ‘’to the aggressive repositioning of the Nigerian Ship Registration Office, NSRO. This may have facilitated the Nigerian Ship Registration Office, recording a 13.6% tonnage growth rate between, 2018 and 2019.

In spite of the fact that the trajectory growth rate was negatively impacted by the Global Pandemic, the nigeria ship Registry still ranked the second in tonnage measurement in the African Continent. After Liberia, that operates an ‘’open and flexible Registry policy’’.

Note that no former NIMASA Director General had ever given much attention to Capacity building as much as the Jamoh Administration. Its Financial contribution to the Maritime Academy Oron, MAN, and the Nigerian Seafarers Development Programme, NSDP, on the basis of 40/60 rand,50/50 ratios  remain legendary. A document made available to The Magazine  shows that the agency  had trained  over 2,600 Nigerian seafarers  in various credible maritime institutions in United Kingdom, Egypt, Philipine, Malaysia,to name but a few. More importantly,  the agency under Jamoh Leadership, was said to have secured  placement for over 400 Cadets onboard  ship  for ‘’the mandatory Sea-time  training that  would make them globally competitive and employable.

The agency was said to have sent some its staff on long term training   abroad to build its internal capacities in various fields of  the maritime industry in the Prestigious World Maritime University, WMU, in Sweden, forcing Clepatra Doumbia Henry, the President of the World Maritime Institution to speak out that NIMASA, takes the lead in capacity  building in the nation’s maritime sector for other agencies to follow suit.

As part of the training programme for the agency had signed a working agreement with the Nigerian Army School of Public Relations and Information in Lagos Last year. The first set of personnel from the agency ncluding maritime Journalists numbering about 50 persons were trained last December, in a one day one Workshop, with their Certificate of Participation issued.

In the area of Corporate Social Responsibility, CSR, the agency had supported both the Federal and state governments COVID 19 Prevention Task Forces. It was said to have donated N30 million to the Boss Mutapha,  Secretary to the government of The Federation led Commitee on Prevention of COVID 19 and N20million to the Lagos  state COVID 19 Prevention Task force.

The victims of  flood and other natural disasters  in Kaduna, Kano, Cross river, Delta, Lagos,  Niger, Benue , Oun and Ondo, were not left out as the agency had supplied them with relief materials to cushion their suffering.

Perhaps,  one area in which the agency had made appreciate mark  in the last two years under the Jamoh Leadership, was in ”Marine Pollution and Control”. Recall that Nigeria had entered into a Memorandum of Understanding  with the Transport  Coordination Cmtre, TMCC,  on Climate Change  for Africa to commence activities towards ensuring  GHG  emission  reduction in the nation’s maritime sector with emphasis of achieving ‘’0 sulphur Oxide SO2 on Bunker fuel oil’’.

The Jamoh Leadership of NIMASA  was said to have masterminded the establishment  of Bunker fuel oil Register, Accreditation of Laboratories for testing  Bunker oil and Capacity building  on Commission  of reduction  and establishment of Compliance monitoring and Enforcment Team, CMET.  The agncy and  Nigeria Meterological Agency, NIet,  were said to have equally signed an MoU, setting out  weather forecasting  and climate research ”to improve  seafarers  and safety of navigation of vessels in Nigerian waters”.

Jamoh DG, NIMASA and Muazu, DG, NiMet Sign MoU

Based on the agreement  NiMet is ‘’to enhance  the capacity with a view to providing  relevant  meterological services to seafarers and ocean going vessels that will allow sustainable development and delivery of products and service to the various sector related  maritime safety, security, marine envirobment protection  and other maritime activities.

There is no gain saying the fact that Jamoh had made all these moves to sign the MoUs, with other relevant agencies ”to enhance the nation’s maritime security and Safety”.

While Jamoh and his Management Team could successfully beat their chest that they have done well in the last two years, may have encouraged them to set a bold agenda this 2022:  to relocate to the agency’s N18 billion property  in Victoria Island and leave the crowded Apapa environment. Note that Apapa property was not rented but acquired by the agency from the property owner over the years.

As a prelude to putting the N50 billion floating dock into operation soon, the  agency officials have started   negotiations  with the NPA, and the Technical partners to ascertain their shareholdings in the floating  dock  that had  to be presented to the Federal Executive Council for approval. 

T Note that the agency had spent billions of naira over the last three years to maintain the facility to keep it in good working condition but with the planned privatization, that much will reduced considerably.  Unconfirmed reposrt has it that the agency had paid the sum of N13.5 billion  as warfage  charges  on  the idle floating dock as at 2021.

This is where the NIMASA  helmsman and his Management Team have to be given kudos for accepting to go ahead with the privitisation of the floating dock, which if fully deployed for operation  this year as promised by Jamoh, the maritime Regulatory agency Director General, would generate mouth watery N1 billio n monthly or N 12 billion yearly.  

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