The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has been ranked as the number one in Port and Flag State Control in the West and Central Africa Sub-Region, topping other maritime regulators in the region.
The feat was contained in the latest report by the Abuja Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Port State Control for West and Central Africa Region, otherwise known as Abuja MoU.
In the word of the Director-General of NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, the achievement was part of the fruits of recent reforms initiated by the agency and deliberate investment in enforcement equipment.
“In NIMASA, we are conscious of global best practices and determined to rid our waterways of all substandard vessels, with the ultimate aim of ensuring a safe and robust maritime domain. This will afford us the capacity to be a competitive player in the global maritime space, giving us an edge in the comity of maritime investment destinations,” Petersidce.
He pointed out that the excellent record posted by Nigeria was the result of recent transformational initiatives introduced by NIMASA, Abuja MoU’s administrator in Nigeria, and the availability of vessels for officers to carry out their enforcement duties.
“We will remain unwavering in our commitment to safety and innovation in line with global best standards, despite the challenges.
“The Agency has no intention of taking anyone out of business; rather we are here to assist ship operators by creating conducive environment,” Peterside said and assured the shipping community of the maximum support.
He emphasised that the Agency will not fail to clamp down on erring operators to safeguard the country’s maritime environment for the good of all.
The Abuja MoU on State Control was signed at a Ministerial Conference held in Abuja by 16 West and Central African States on October 22, 1999. The meeting was organised by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and hosted by the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Abuja MoU is the legal document under which countries of the region agreed to develop and implement a common mechanism for the respective port state control activities. The main work of the Abuja MoU is the harmonisation of the port state control procedure and practices of all the countries in the region. This is to eliminate the operation of substandard shipping within the region in order to ensure maritime safety, security, protection of the marine environment from pollution, and improvement in the working and living conditions of ship crew, as well as facilitate regional cooperation and exchange of information among member-states.
Signatories to the MoU are Angola, Benin, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Congo, Ivory Coast, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Equatorial Guinea, Liberia, Mauritania, Namibia, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sao Tome and Principe, Democratic Republic of Congo, Guinea Bissau, The Gambia, and Togo.