DG NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside

The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency NIMASA has said capacity building is crucial to the harnessing of the vast opportunities in the sea bed mining field.

To this effect, the agency said it is currently working towards effective harnessing of these opportunities by partnering the International Seabed Authority ISBA.

Director General of the agency, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, made this known at the opening ceremony of the 23rd Assembly of the International Seabed Authority ISBA held in Kingston, Jamaica.

The International Seabed Authority is an autonomous international organization established under the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and the 1994 Agreement relating to the Implementation of Part XI of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

The authority, which has its headquarters in Kingston, Jamaica, came into existence on 16 November 1994, upon the entry into force of the 1982 Convention and as at July 25, 2016 it has 168 member countries including Nigeria.

According to him, in view of the numerous resources in Nigeria, there was the need to work more closely with the ISBA in the area of seabed resources exploration.

The DG, who led the Nigerian delegation to the event commended ISBA on its role in the optimal utilisation of seabed resources among maritime stakeholders and solicited for assistance in the area of capacity building to survey deep sea and establish data base of mineral resources available for the benefit of all mankind.

He said: “The Federal Government is currently developing policies that will aid the harnessing of seabed resources and will be working closely with the ISBA”.

“Specifically, Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Transport is developing a country blue economy policy and strategy which will incorporate the sustainable development of the country’s deep seabed resources”.

It was also gathered that in line with these efforts of the Federal Government, the Nigerian Navy Hydrographic office has also commenced hydrographic survey and charting of our maritime area, and added that in the same vein NIMASA is working with Nigerian Navy to effectively enforce the United Nations Convention on the law of the sea and other relevant international maritime instruments to which we are a party around our continental shelf.

He however told the global audience that while seeking exploitation of the mineral resources within the Seabed off our national maritime jurisdiction, marine environment preservation and protection will continue to be given top priority.

The NIMASA-boss also congratulated Mr. Michael Lodge of the United Kingdom on his appointment as Secretary General of ISBA Council and Eugenio Joao Muianga of Mozambique on his election as President of the Authority’s 23rd session.

He added that Africa is proud of the feat of Eugenio Joao Muianga and pledged that Nigeria is ready to cooperate with and support the work of the Authority while looking forward to benefiting from available opportunities.