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Blue economy minister charges African countries on port safety, standards

As NIMASA DG assures Nigeria's commitment to Abuja MoU implementation

by Samson Echenim

The Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Adegboyega Oyetola, has charged African countries on the Atlantic Coast on seaport safety and standards implementation.

Oyetola spoke to members of the Abuja Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control for West and Central African Region, popularly known as Abuja MoU at a meeting in Cote d’Ivoire, a statement from the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) said on Friday.

The minister who spoke to the Abuja MoU member states on the need to achieve full ratification and domestication of all relevant instruments of the MoU, at the 13th Port State Control Committee Meeting in Abidjan emphasised the need for capacity development for maritime workers.

Vice Chairman of the Abuja MoU, Oyetola reiterated the need for regulators and stakeholders in the member states to ensure their maritime domains remain safe, secured and environmentally friendly towards achieving full ratification and domestication of all relevant instruments of the MoU.

He said: “An important aspect of compliance with the requirement for member states entails that the country’s port authorities must inspect at least 15% of vessels calling at their ports, recruitment and subsequent training of the Port State Control officers to avoid over burdening the few PSCOs in the field; and the need for us to collaborate and ensure that no substandard vessel is allowed to trade within the region.”

The Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control for West and Central African Region (Abuja MoU) is one of the nine regional MoUs and one national MoU established pursuant to IMO Resolution A.682(17) of 1991. Operating under a Cooperative Agreement with IMO, Abuja MoU was established as an inter-governmental organization comprising the maritime administrations of 22 countries abutting the Atlantic Coast of Africa.

The main work of Abuja MoU is the harmonization of the port state control procedures and practices of all the countries in the region aimed at eliminating the operation of substandard shipping within the region thereby ensuring maritime safety, security, protection of our marine environment from pollution, improving the working and living conditions of ship crew, and to facilitate regional cooperation and exchange of information among member states.

Also speaking at the session, the Director-General of NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, noted that the maritime administration in Nigeria is committed to effective implementation of regulatory instruments in Nigeria.

He explained that NIMASA has ensured the ratification of not less than six international maritime conventions for proper governance of the country’s maritime space. These ratified conventions spell out proper mode of governance for various areas such as standards of training, certification and Watchkeeping for the fishing sector, pollution management and carriage of passenger luggage by sea.

“Nigeria has ratified Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and
Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships 2009; International Convention on Standard of Training, Certification and Watch-keeping for Fishing Vessel Personnel (STCW –F) 1995; and Protocol Relating to Intervention on the High Seas in Cases of Oil Pollution Casualties (Intervention Protocol)1973, Jamoh noted.

Others, according to him are: Protocol on Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims (LLMC) 1996; Protocol to the 1974 Athens Convention relating to the Carriage of Passengers and their Luggage by Sea 2002; and Protocol of 2005 to the 1988 Protocol for the Suppression of Unlawful Act against the Safety of Fixed Platforms located on the Continental Shelf (SUA PROT 2005).

On his part, the Secretary General Abuja MoU, Captain Sunday Umoren assured of continuous engagement sessions to ensure regional collaboration to attain globally acceptable Port State Control in the West and Central Africa Region.

The performance of member states on PSC Inspections, and financial status amongst others formed part of the deliberations.

Women in Maritime West attended the event (WIMOWCA) in their Observer status capacity.


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