The Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency NIMASA, has said it would stop at nothing towards the strict enforcement of safety regulations at sea in order to ensure the protection of marine environment and safety of assets.

Meanwhile, the International Maritime Organisation IMO has commended the agency over Regional Search and Rescue Coordination.

The Director General of the agency, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, who made this pledge during the opening of the ongoing 4th Regional Technical Search and Rescue Committee meeting in Lagos, said that the establishment of an Emergency Service Division which is entrusted with the responsibility of rendering Search and Rescue Services to vessels and mariners in distress within the Nigerian territorial waters is a major accomplishment for the agency.

The DG, who was represented at the event by the Executive Director in charge of Maritime Labour and Cabotage Services, Mr. Gambo Ahmed, stated that NIMASA as the regional coordinator of search and rescue for West and Central Africa remains committed to leading the region in that light, adding that aside continuous trainings of SAR officials, NIMASA is coming up with other modalities to complement its SAR plan.

According to the DG, “seafarers worldwide have the obligation to assist other ships in distress and as part of our commitment to SAR we have registered and trained volunteers as Maritime SAR Marshals in the riverine and inland areas. The psychic behind this is to ensure that these marshals are close to the loading/unloading bays of river crafts and thus enforce strict observance of regulations with respect to safety of lives and assets at sea”.

Secretary General of the IMO, Mr. Kitack Lim who was represented by the Regional Coordinator, West and Central Africa-Anglophone, Technical Cooperation Division of the global maritime regulatory body, Captain. Dallas Laryea stated that international trade remains very critical to the world’s economy.

He argued that with the estimated of 90 per cent of world trade and two thirds of its energy supplies carried by sea, ensuring safety at sea is paramount to the IMO.

Lim however commended NIMASA for its systematic and well laid-down procedures which the agency has put in place to respond to emergencies that may occur at sea, especially in the Gulf of Guinea.

He also charged the agency to continue to support the region and urged member states of the regional SAR to continue to collaborate to ensure a safe and secure West and Central African maritime domain.

It would be recalled that Nigeria is the host of the Regional Search and Rescue Coordinating Centre and this is the 4th meeting of the Regional Search and Rescue Committee with attendance of member states which include; Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea, Togo, Garbon, Democratic Republic of Congo,  Congo Brazzaville, Benin Republic, Cameroun and Sao Tome & Principe.