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NIMASA DG canvasses harmonised port control inspection for West, Central Africa region

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The Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr Bashir Jamoh has stated that the growth potential and high expectations of maritime stakeholders for the industry would only be realised through the development of a system of harmonised Port State Control inspection procedures for West and Central Africa.

While addressing Chief Executives of maritime administrations signatory to the Abuja Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control (Abuja MoU) at a workshop for the West and Central African region, Jamoh identified the importance of effective Port State Control systems to the efficient running of member states’ Maritime Administrations.

The Abuja MoU is one of the nine Regional MoUs and one national MoU established following the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Resolution A.682(17) of 1991. The Abuja MoU was established on 22nd October 1999 as an inter-governmental body comprising maritime administrations of countries abutting the Atlantic coast of Africa. It operates under a cooperative agreement with the IMO.

The IMO partners with the Abuja MoU in organising the regional workshop, which was held in Lagos.

Represented by the Agency’s Executive Director for Operations, Mr Shehu Ahmed, the NIMASA DG said: “As we all know, Port State Control provisions are featured in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) provision under the duties and responsibilities of Flag states, Coastal states and Port states and it is also highlighted under enforcement in all major IMO and some ILO conventions.

“This function entails the enforcement of applicable conventions of the IMO and ILO that have been cascaded down to us as signatory states for domestication through our national laws.”

He added that: “It would interest you to know that NIMASA executes four legal instruments in keeping with our international obligations – The Merchant Shipping Act; the NIMASA Act; the Cabotage Act and the most recent being the Suppression of Piracy and Other Maritime Offences Act”.

While declaring NIMASA’s unflinching commitment to the Abuja MoU in its focus for the reduction of substandard ships, curbing marine pollution and ensuring good working conditions of crew members onboard ships within member-states waters, Jamoh urged 22 member countries of the Abuja MoU to improve on their financial contributions to the organisation

Speaking for the Vice Chairman of Abuja MoU who is also the Minister of Transportation, Hon. Rotimi Amaechi, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dr Magdalene Ajani commended the organisers of the for their commitment to developing the most critical resource of all, which is the human element.

On his part, the Secretary General of the Abuja MoU, Captain Sunday Umoren identified the need for continuous capacity building and networking initiatives in order to gain the support of top maritime administrations in order to promote productive working relationships which would in turn benefit the maritime industries in member-states as well as collectively.

Umoren disclosed that only 14 countries are presently conducting inspections in the region, and called for  a campaign for effective inspection regime with a focus on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping. He said detentions are not the best parameters to measure port state control efficiency.

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