The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Nigeria’s apex maritime regulatory body, has recorded several achievements in the area of maritime safety and security, fight against piracy on the nation’s water in the last three years of Bashir Jamoh as the director-general of the agency.
To ensure safe the navigation of vessels, the Federal Executive Council approved the wreck removals from the Badagry axis up to the Tin-Can Island, and other zones of Nigeria, comprising the Western zone with headquarters in Lagos, the Eastern zone headquarters in Port Harcourt and then central Zone headquarters in Warri.
According to the three years scorecard of Jamoh, all the projects have achieved major milestones.
Also, NIMASA engaged the Nigerian Navy Naval Dockyard in Lagos to repair our operational vessels, Millennia 1 and Millennium 2, and today, both vessels and five others are almost ready for deployment for enforcement purposes.
This will also enhance our search and rescue operation, as well as port and flag state administration among others.
In other to attend to the emergencies that may occur after a Search and Rescue Operation, the Agency has built two brand new Search and Bases of international standards at Azare Crescent, Apapa and Kirikiri.
“We are hopeful to commission it soon. The hospital is not for NIMASA or Nigeria, but for the original Regional States, NIMASA is in charge of nine countries in terms of Search and Rescue. The hospital is of high international standard, we hope to treat all calibers of patients locally, and internationally, with the state of art equipment the facility will possess, when completed,” the agency assured.
“In the area of Flag and Port State Administration, at the inception of the administration, there was no single vessel for enforcement. Today, we have built seven brand new bullet proofs boats and we expect them to have completed soon. They are being built in Spain, and we are hoping that before the end of March, we will receive and commission the vessels.
“As soon as the vessels are commissioned, there will be enhanced enforcement performance; and we plan to divide the use of the vessels; not only in Lagos, but also to other zones of the Agency. All these will cater for the issue of safety,” the scorecard revealed.
On the area of maritime security, before 2019, Nigeria does not have law that tried offenders and criminals involved in piracy and kidnapping.
“Therefore, we got the Suppression of Piracy and other Maritime Related Offences (SPOMO) Act signed by Mr. President in June 2019. As of today, we have secured convictions under this Act. This has also served as a deterrent to would be criminals. To further deter these criminalities on the waterways and make our youths gainfully employed, the Agency engaged the Marine Litter Marshals,” it added.
Empowered by enabling legislations, NIMASA takes the job of ensuring safety of ships and those on board, through proper enforcement of maritime safety conventions, seriously.
It championed the acquisition assets and the effective implementation of the Deep Blue Project contributing to reduction in the piracy cases with only one piracy case as at May 2022, six cases in 2021 from 35 cases in 2020 and in 2019 respectively.
The agency has invested in the acquisition of 17 Fast Intervention Boats, three Special Mission Helicopters, two Special Mission Aircrafts, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and 17 Armored Vehicles.
In the area of education, the Agency, through the Nigerian Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP), a capacity development programme, over 2,041 cadets in Greece, India, and Egypt.
“We have improved our interface with the Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN) Oron. The Agency’s statutory funding of the Maritime Academy of Nigeria in Oron has been on point since 2020.
“We have simulators, among other state of the art facilities, and the funding by NIMASA has been unhindered. This is in addition to other private maritime institutions, the private like Charkins, they are now also coming up with a lot of accreditation of diplomas and other short-term certificates that we are doing it locally, saving foreign exchange that we are having,” the scorecard said.
In addition to this initiative, the Agency created skill acquisition centres across six geopolitical zones including Lagos for the South-West, Anambra for the South-East, Bayelsa for South-South, Maiduguri, Borno state for North-East, Kaduna State for North-West and Kwara for North Central.
“All the skill acquisition centers have the capacity of training younger Nigerians on different aspects of professionalism under that. This is to help trim the number of criminality in Nigerian territorial waters. Records therefore shows that from third quarter of 2021 until date, we have never recorded one single attack in our own territorial water,” the record stated.