By Dakuku Peterside
As a regulatory and enforcement Agency, we are committed to ensuring that our core mandates are accomplished in such a manner that will provoke economic development for Nigeria, while growing indigenous capacity in line with international best practices.
In conforming to the focus of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration, which is based on new ways of doing things and economic diversification, our quick strategic implementation initiatives through our medium term strategy has begun to yield fruits. I will like to mention a few.
The introduction of the Final Billing system has put to rest the issues of double billing and over/under billing with the creation of a platform for dispute resolution. The system ensures appropriate closure on all vessel transactions within a period of two weeks after departure. This has led to improved customer satisfaction.
Equally, we have made major strides in the drive for improved maritime domain awareness. With the use of satellite surveillance technologies, in combination with intelligence systems, we are able to identify, with a consistent 365 days and a five-year profile, all vessels that visit our Exclusive Economic Zone. We are further able to identify vessels that are believed to be engaging in suspicious activities and take appropriate actions.
Also last year, we facilitated the participation of indigenous operators at international maritime expos and Trade Fairs creating the much needed link between the local operators and their foreign counterparts. The aim was to move from opportunities to realities. A remarkable success story in this regard is the facilitation of the match-making of indigenous operators with foreign partners for various international engagements.
Currently, a portal is being created on the Agency’s website where the list of all categories of maritime operators and services provided would be hosted for match-making and direct contact by business interests around the world. This brings visibility and credibility to indigenous operators being projected by the Maritime Administration in Nigeria.
Equally, we have secured the buy-in of some state Governments into the public sector cargo support initiative of the Agency. Extending engagements on maritime with other state governors
The Coastal and Inland Shipping (Cabotage) Act 2003, which came into force in 2004 is essentially a local capacity-building law. Its central plank is to empower Nigerians for greater participation in maritime trade. The law seeks to achieve that goal through four key pillars, namely, ensuring that vessels that operate in our coastal waters within the country’s territory are built in Nigeria, owned by Nigerians, manned by Nigerians, and registered in Nigeria.
It was in an attempt to arrest the seeming drift that the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) came up with a five-year strategic plan, beginning 2021, to end in stages the grant of Cabotage waiver. The winding down process is phased to avoid major disruptions to the Cabotage trade. The plan is to achieve the key objectives of the Cabotage Act in terms of in-country construction, ownership, manning, and flagging of ships engaged in coastal trade by 2024.
The process of bringing the grant of Cabotage waiver to a gradual end has already begun, with the Agency launching a renewed effort to implement the provisions of the Cabotage Act. This was following a series of engagements with stakeholders.
NIMASA has adopted a strategy of encouraging Nigerians to go into joint ventures and joint ownership of vessels with foreign operators on a 60-40 basis, and this has started yielding fruit with about 20 new vessels currently flying the Nigerian flag under this arrangement, as against one in 2018. Bareboat charter of vessels has witnessed an increase, while foreign-owned vessels on Nigeria’s Cabotage register has witnessed a decline.
It will interest you to know that, there has been an increase in the number of wholly-owned Nigerian vessels on the Nigerian Cabotage register. The 2018 half year result showed that 125 vessels were registered, representing a 33 per cent increase when compared with the 94 registered in the corresponding period in 2017. Currently, there are more than 200 vessels captured in the Cabotage register.
Also, about 68 per cent of vessels trading within the country’s maritime space are Nigerian-flagged. So the Agency is doing a lot in ensuring adequate attention is paid to the essence of the Cabotage, aimed at encouraging indigenous participation and job creation.
One of the critical agencies NIMASA is collaborating with in the capacity-building and Cabotage waiver cessation strategy is the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB). NCDMB has the mandate to build local capacity in the oil and gas sector in line with the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development ,NOGICD, Act. The NIMASA/NCDMB cooperation is already yielding fruit, as both agencies have achieved the categorisation of vessels for uniformity and harmonised enforcement.
That collaboration has also helped in the conduct of capacity audit of existing shipyards and maritime training institutions in the country.
As for the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF), the Agency is currently working with the Federal Government and the Federal Ministry of Transportation to ensure the disbursement of the fund soon.
You will recall that on the disbursement of the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF), the Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi recently said he would meet with relevant government agencies under the Federal Ministry of Transportation as well as indigenous ship owners to work out the modalities and process of disbursement.
Maritime Safety and Security is one of the Agency’s core mandates and it is very crucial to the survival of the maritime sector.
On Maritime Safety, the following achievements was recorded in the preceding year:
1. Nigerian was adjudged most outstanding in Port and Flag State Control in the West and Central Africa Sub-Region by the Abuja Memorandum of Understanding ,MoU. The country had the highest port state inspection in Abuja MOU.
2. Nigeria conducted more Certificate of Competency examinations.
3. The country inaugurated Search and Rescue volunteers in 10 coastal states.
4. Development and implementation of Biometric data for non-conventional vessels and small boats
5. Automation of process of issuance of Maritime Mobile Service Identity (MMSI) and call Sign.
In terms of maritime security, it must be pointed out that several reports emanating from the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) as piracy is hardly differentiated from sea robbery. Piracy refers to attacks in international waters, while sea robbery happens in territorial waters and, thus, under the littoral state’s jurisdiction.
In order to stem this tide, NIMASA in collaboration with the Ministries of Transportation, Defence, the Nigerian Navy and other relevant security agencies are tackling the issues relating to maritime security through a multidimensional solution.
Concerned about this menace, African leaders have met at various times to brainstorm and find a lasting solution to the security challenges in the GoG, with Nigeria taking the lead, to ensure a robust African maritime sector that will attract more participation from the international community.
Part of the strategies includes, the 2050 African Integrated Maritime Strategy (AIMS) and its Plan of Action, including a roadmap for the incremental implementation of the strategy in line with international maritime law, were adopted. This is in addition to the Yaoundé Code of Conduct, the Djibouti Code of Conduct, and the Lome Charter, among other strategies. The strategies are geared towards actualising a safe and secure maritime domain by tackling all forms of maritime crimes in the West and Central Africa Sub-region, including the Gulf of Guinea.
The strategies include a framework for action on, among others, fisheries and aquaculture; environmental and biodiversity monitoring; marine tourism; Disaster Risk Management (DRM); handling and shipment of hazardous materials and dangerous goods; maritime governance; flag state and port state control; and illegal activities, including money laundering, piracy, maritime terrorism and human trafficking and smuggling by sea.
These attempts to address the maritime security issues and deliver a securemarine environment fits perfectly into the Blue Economy concept across the globe. The concept focuses on creating the opportunities for a more sustainable ocean economy where there is better alignment between economic growth and the health of the ocean with the involvement of the government.
Determined to stamp out piracy and all forms of illegalities in the nation’s territorial waterways the Federal Government conceived the Deep Blue Project involving a Total Spectrum Maritime Security, which includes Law Enforcement, Regional Cooperation, Response Capabilities Building, and Enhanced Maritime Domain Awareness for all organs of government responsible for maritime security.
To execute the Deep Blue Project, the services of the Homeland SecurityInternational (HLSI) from Israel was engaged to help Nigeria in the training of personnel and procurement of hardware for the safety and security of the country’s waterways and the Gulf of Guinea.
Insecurity in the Gulf of Guinea is also regional in character. The Gulf of Guinea states are addressing the issue at the national levels. The regional collaboration has led to the following interventions:
• Establishment and implementation of the ECOWAS Integrated Maritime Strategy (EIMS)
• Establishment of Inter-Regional Coordination Centre in Yaoundé, Cameroun, an initiative of ECOWAS/ECCAS/GoG Commission
• Leadership role in the establishment and implementation of Africa Integrated Maritime Strategy (AIMS)
• Headship of the Association of African Maritime Administrations (AAMA), which is at the forefront of coordination of continental initiatives of African heads of government to tackle maritime insecurity.
• NIMASA, working with Nigerian Navy in 2012-2013, established OPERATION PROSPERITY.
• NIMASA and Nigerian Navy participated in Exercise Obangama Express and Exercise Junction Rain anchored in conjunction with the US Coastguard and the Nigerian Navy.
• Nigerian Navy participated in the annual French-led Exercise Nemo and Exercise Corymbre anchored in conjunction with the French Navy (Marine Nationale).
• Nigeria is active in Maritime Organisation of West and Central Africa ,MOWCA.
• Nigeria is coordinating Heads of Navies in the region.
• The Nigerian government recently established an Integrated National Maritime Surveillance and Security Infrastructure (The Deep Blue Project).
• The project was conceived to meet the following objectives:
Nigerian government in October 7 – 9, 2019 hosted the Global Maritime Security Conference in the country’s capital, Abuja. The conference, with the theme, “Maritime Security and Global Trade Facilitation”, brought together stakeholders from across the globe to discuss topical issues including Maritime Security, Legal Framework and Regulatory issues in the Gulf of Guinea; Maritime Governance and the Blue Economy; and Technology Deployment in Maritime Security, among other issues relating to security in the Gulf of Guinea.
The aim of the conference was to define the precise nature and scope of coordinated regional responses to maritime insecurity vis-à-vis intervention supports from external actors/partners; evaluate the relevance and impacts of the various interventions initiated already to tackle maritime insecurity in the Gulf of Guinea with a view to revising and adapting them to address the current challenges; decisively move towards policy harmonisation and effective implementation through regional integration and cooperation as principal method for delivering effective and efficient security in the region, and tackle threats to maritime security, strategise alternative approach to prevent cyber security attack and other forms of emerging maritime security threats.
The 2019 report of Maritime Labour focuses on employment and capacity development of seafarers and dockworkers. Perhaps, the biggest achievement in the area of maritime labour last year was the tripartite agreement signed by stakeholders, which NIMASA facilitated.
The Agency negotiated and ensured that the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) was concluded and endorsed by the Tripartite Parties under the National Joint Industrial Council for Seafarers and Dockworkers ,NJIC.
NIMASA, in conjunction with the tripartite stakeholders (Employers and Employees), successfully completed the International Labour Organisation (ILO) reports on Maritime Labour Conventions ,ML, 2006 and Dockwork Convention, 1973. Nigeria’s approach and model of reports has been commended by ILO and recommended for use by other member states of the ILO.
The development of Maritime Labour is critical to effective and efficient cargo handling onboard ships, seaports, terminal and also the maintenance of industrial peace and harmony in the Industry.
The continued progress of Maritime Labour employment of seafarers in 2019, in particular, is attributed to the suspension of manning waiver by ensuring shipping companies submit a mandatory replacement and training. The report further presents registration of Manning Agents, Seafarers’ Employers, Terminal operators, Stevedoring companies and Dockworkers.
The Agency updated the records of all registered Nigerian employed dockworkers and Stevedoring Companies. Table…., below indicates an increase in the registration of Stevedoring companies. However, there was a slight decline in the registration of terminals and jetties. It is expected that more Terminals and Jetties will be registered in the coming year.
The withdrawal of the services of Tally Clerks and Security men at the ports and Terminals accounts for the decrease in the number of registered Dockworkers:
In maritime labour relations, we strive to develop and maintain harmonious and healthy relations in the maritime sector. The process through which these relationships are expressed involves grievances and dispute resolution and the management of conflict between Maritime Labour Employers, Maritime Labour and Trade Unions. The activities, targets and achievements are presented in the table below. A summary of the activities shows that in 2019 there was an improvement in the reporting of industrial accidents, and no case of death was reported from any of the ports, which is attributable to improved compliance with safety procedures.
The Agency relies on the quality and integrity of its inspection to ascertain the compliance of stevedoring companies, Terminal operators, Dockworkers, Manning agents, Seafarers employers and Seafarers to ensure they are in line with international standards. The number of unscheduled visits and inspections are shown in the table below:
The Agency ensured that cargo handling operations were carried out by well-trained Dockworkers. This is achieved through a well-articulated training plan and evaluation. The table… below clearly shows the number of Dockworkers trained in various professional courses.
The Agency facilitated training on basic and specialised courses for Nigerian Seafarers. This is to ensure a bridge in the gap of unqualified seafarers and the shortage of qualified seafarers within the country.
In line with the Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter 1972, commonly called the “London Convention” and also abbreviated as Marine Dumping, being an agreement to control pollution of the sea by dumping and to encourage regional agreements supplementary to the Convention.
The Agency is doing a lot in the area of managing and maintaining the country’s marine environment by engaging the services of marine litter marshals. NIMASA is determined to ensure cleaner oceans safe for navigation.
The Agency’s Marine Environment Management Department successfully carried out the following:-
i Hazardous wastes and dangerous chemical tracking programmes under the IMDG Code at all the Agency’s operational zones;
ii. Developed the IMDG portal and installation of exact Earth and Hazcheck Systems software for tracking of dangerous goods in Nigeria. This activity was in fulfillment of chapter 7 of the SOLAS Convention and Annexes 2 and iii of MARPOL Convention. The identified gaps in the management of chemicals and hazardous wastes management in the maritime domain had been addressed.
iii. Currently remodeling the Marine Pollution Laboratory to an internationally accepted modern. This will take care of the laboratory analysis aspects of the relevant IMO Marine Environment Conventions (such as the Oil Pollution Preparedness and Response Cooperation,(IOPC. Ballast Water Convention, Anti-Fouling Systems ,AFS, when completed.
The Agency has received the report of the 9-man committee, Chaired by Engr. Emmanuel Ilori, on the rejigging of the Nigerian Ship Registry Office and how to make it more viable and competitive with its counterparts in order maritime climes.
What we are targeting is to ensure we have a registry that can meet international certification standards and compete favourably with the best in the global maritime community.
I want to assure you that we are painstakingly studying the preliminary report submitted by the committee and will ensure to implement the findings.
We have also commenced the process of automating the Nigerian Ship Registry. All these efforts are to enhance best global practices are imbibed in our activities. The Federal Government of Nigeria in May, 2013 appointed the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) as the Designated Authority ,DA), for the ISPS Code. This followed a report by the United States Coast Guard (USCG) about Nigerian ports not being compliant, which also issued a 90-day ultimatum for compliance, or risk of a trade isolation by the United States and its allies.
You may recall that Prior to NIMASA’s appointment as the DA in 2006, the Federal Government had appointed the Presidential Implementation Committee on Maritime Safety and Security (PICOMSS), which held sway for about seven years. But the PICOMSS did not make much impact, with less than 10 per cent compliance enforcement.
NIMASA swung into action and began with various stakeholders’ engagements and seminars with ship-owners and the entire Nigerian shipping community in order to sensitise them on the essence of the code and also the sanctions that will be placed on erring port facilities.
We created a Unit, the ISPS Code Unit, headed by an Assistant Director with the responsibility of seeing to the daily activities and interfacing with ports and terminal operators. This was to ensure that they complied with all safety standards as stipulated by the ISPS Code.
It may interest you to know that since the establishment of the Unit, has discovered more port facilities, carried out physical inspections, and, afterwards, issued statutory certificates to compliant facilities. The unit, under the Directorate of Operations, uses Data Gathering, Port Facility Security Assessment (PFSA), Port Facility Security Plan ,PFSP,, Verification Inspection Exercise ,VIE, and Enforcement Inspection, among other methods, to carry out its responsibilities.
It has recorded achievements, which include: passage of the ISPS Code Implementation Regulations in December 2014, appointment of Lead Recognised Security Organisation, RSO, and other RSOs to fill the capacity gaps in physical assessment of port facilities, discovery of new ISPS Code applicable port facilities, creating awareness and fostering collaboration among stakeholders in ISPS implementation, and training of personnel.
Other achievements include the fact that over 20 Nigerian port facilities were exempted from imposition of United States Coast Guard ,USCG, special Conditions of Entry (CoE) on vessels that had called at the facilities; successful completion of PFSA and PFSP for a substantial number of facilities; more than 90 per cent compliance within the country’s facilities; and issuance of Documents of Compliance to compliant facilities.
In line with the theme of the International Maritime Organisation for 2019, centred on ensuring and promoting gender equality in the maritime sector, Nigeria is doing a lot to encourage female participation. We have engaged in various capacity development initiatives for the female gender and we will continue to do more.
The Federal Government has also shown commitment to this noble course as demonstrated by the First Lady, Dr. Aisha Buhari who was well represented by the Wife of the Vice President, Mrs. Dolapo Osinbajo during the 2019 Day of the Seafarers.
You can also see it in the Agency as we have many Women occupying Directorship positions in the Agency. So we are using this medium to invite more females to participate in the already male dominated sector, as they have a lot to offer.
The Agency in 2018 began a trend in the history of the Nigerian maritime sector, known as the Maritime Industry Forecast. The essence is to provide direction for investors who may be willing to do business in the Nigerian maritime domain.
This initiative is part of the initiatives of the current Management of the Agency aimed at realizing a robust and virile maritime industry in the country.
Expectedly, we are already working with our consultants on the 2020-2021 maritime industry forecast and it is hoped that it will continue to set the tone for our teeming stakeholders, more so it is at the beginning of the year.
In order to keep our promise of rewarding hard work and to encourage stakeholders in the maritime sector, NIMASA in 2018 started what we called the NIMASA Corporate Dinner and Awards Night.
The event which has become an annual programme is to encourage industry players to keep striving to ensure global best practices are imbibed in their various activities, attract more investors that will help open up the blue economy and to also ensure compliance to maritime regulations, thereby making Nigeria a force to reckon with in the comity of maritime nations.
On Saturday, January 18, 2020, the Agency will again host stakeholders and present awards to those who have imbibed best practices in the day to day running of the sector.
The categories to be awarded include; Most Compliant ISPS Offshore and Onshore Facility; Best Terminal and Jetty Operator; Best Maritime Training Institution; Best Shipping Company (Marine Environment Management).
Others are; Overall Shipping Company; Best Cabotage Operator; Company with Largest Combined Tonnages and Best Maritime Financing Banks among other categories of awards.
Also, the award ceremony will reward staff who have contributed meritoriously to the service Agency ranging from fifteen to thirty years.
Our existence as an Agency is largely dependent on our stakeholders; without which we cannot achieve anything. Of a truth, there have been times of disparagements, sanctions and enforcement; all these were geared towards ensuring the right thing is done and laid down rules and regulations are adhered to. The Agency is therefore poised to reward hard work and encourage more investments in the maritime sector by appreciating those who have done well.
The Management of the Agency also decided to engage an independent panel of judges headed by Former Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Chief Adebayo Sarumi, in order to ensure transparency in the process. We have also put out a notice for nomination from companies and individuals for the various categories.
For The records: An abridged speech of Dakuku Peterside Director General, NIMASA, in a Media Parley in Lagos