NIMASA, Navy partners in maritime safety, security, says Peterside
Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, Dr. Dakuku Peterside
BY FRANCIS EZEM
The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, has said that the Nigerian Navy plays a strategic role in the agency’s ability to discharge its statutory mandate of ensuring safety and security in the nation’s territorial waters.
Recall that NIMASA had signed a Memorandum of Understanding MoU, with the Navy leading to the formation of the Maritime Guard Command under which the agency provides patrol platforms manned by naval personnel that patrol the nation’s maritime domain and the Economic Exclusive Zone EEZ. This is in line with the regulation of the International Maritime Organisation IMO, which prohibits maritime administrations from use of arms in regulating commercial shipping.
Director-General of NIMASA, Dakuku Peterside, who spoke when the executive members of the Maritime Reporters Association of Nigeria MARAN, paid him a courtesy visit, said that though the agency has remained on top of its core mandates and responsibilities, the Nigerian Navy has remained a worthy partner in providing maritime safety and security.
He said: “NIMASA as an agency does not have the power to bear arms, but we do that through the Navy. If you want to detain a ship and you don’t place armed men onboard the ship, before you know it, the shop would sail away, especially the foreign vessels, they come into our waters and perpetrate a lot of evil and they just leave”
“The Navy has its functions clearly defined; the Merchant Shipping Act does that. Nigeria is one country and we are not divided, it is a collaborative effort that builds the house. If NIMASA goes away to do something different from what the Navy is doing and we don’t complement ourselves, there would always be friction, but NIMASA has taken the bull by its horn by having an MoU with the Navy, and we work within the confines of that agreement”.
The NIMASA boss, who was represented by the assistant director, International Ship and Port Security, ISPS, Captain Elei Green Igbogi, assured that the agency would continue to carry out its statutory functions within the ambits of the extant laws of the land and in conjunction with other security agencies in the country and would not shy away from its mandates.
President of MARAN, Mr. Anya Njoku charged the agency on its responsibilities, especially in terms of ensuring seafarers’ welfare and capacity development. He also made a strong case for the full implementation of the Coastal and Inland Shipping Cabotage Act, 2003, while ensuring that local seamen are not constantly harassed by the Navy at sea, who allegedly arrest and detain them over allegations of oil theft, when the owners of the vessels are not are not arrested.
According to him, maritime is an international business and as such, it must be done in line with international maritime laws, such as the Safety of Lives At Sea SOLARS, which provides for safety of seamen at sea.
Also recall that the agency signed MoU with other security agencies such as the Nigeria Air Force, Nigeria Civil Defence Corps NCDC, among several others in its bid to ensure safety and security within the nation’s maritime space.