ISPS Code: Nigeria’s port facilities on course, says NIMASA DG
The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency NIMASA, has said that the agency would stop at nothing in ensuring that all the ports and related facilities in the country totally complied with the provisions of the International Ships and Ports Facility Security ISPS, Code. in all ports, terminals and jetties in Nigeria.
The ISPS Code, which was enacted following the terrorist attack on the World Trade Centre in September 2001, is an amendment to the Safety of Life and Sea (SOLAS) Convention (1974/1988) on minimum security arrangements for ships, ports and government agencies.
It come into force in 2004 and prescribes responsibilities to governments, shipping companies, shipboard personnel, and port/facility personnel to detect security threats and take preventative measures against security incidents affecting ships or port facilities used in international trade.
The Director General of the agency, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, who gave this assurance, when a delegation of the United States Coast Guard USCG, led by Commander Thomas Foster came on an assessment visit of Nigeria’s ports and terminals across the country, said that this is in furtherance to its commitment to ensure safety and security on the nation’s territorial ways, and in line with global best practices.
The DG, who also acknowledged the support and cooperation of the USCG in particular and the United States Government in general, described the USCG as the most valued partner in ensuring that our ports are safe for business.
He told the visiting team that the Federal Government places high premium on security issues and as the Designated Authority DA, for the implementation of the ISPS Code, NIMASA would leave no stone unturned in achieving 100 per cent compliance with the regulations of the ISPS Code in Nigeria with a view to guaranteeing the safety of the vessels and crew that call or sail out of Nigeria’s port facilities.
“There is absolutely no doubt that we are determined and committed to getting it right; we only need support, assistance and all the encouragement we can get. We are also determined to work with the United States Coast Guard to get it right in order to ensure that Nigeria’s seaports are safe and secure”.
“Let me also reiterate that as a country, we appreciate the importance of getting our internal security whether at the seaports, jetties and terminals or other border stations and entry points right and that we are absolutely committed to this it”, Peterside further assured.
He however appealed to the USCG to continue to render necessary assistance to NIMASA, pledging that the agency is open to support and partnership from the US Coast Guard both in terms of technical support and training..
Meanwhile, leader of the delegation, Commander Foster praised NIMASA for the giant strides it has made so far in enhancing safety at the ports and also expressed satisfaction with the infrastructural development and upgrade in terms of compliance with the ISPS Code at the seaports and other facilities in Lagos visited by the team..
“It appears that the energy and influence that NIMASA has the ports are very tremendous, as seen in all the ports visited in Lagos. The level of compliance has tremendously improved compared to the last time when we visited. I therefore assure NIMASA that we will continue to work closely to achieve a safer ports, jetties and terminals in Nigeria”, the team leader said.
The Federal Government had in 2013 appointed NIMASA the Designated Authority for the implementation of the Code in and it has since been unrelenting in raising the banner of the country high amongst the comity of maritime nations, especially in the area of safety and security.
NIMASA is the government body that regulates and promotes shipping activities in Nigeria. The current management had in the last one year when it came into office embarked on so many developmental initiatives through various stakeholders’ engagement and collaborative efforts towards making Nigeria a hub of maritime activities within the African sub-region.