From Left: Executive Director Operations, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency NIMASA, Engr. Rotimi Fashakin, Lead Consultant of the IMO Brian Cranmer, representative of the Director General, the agency, Mr Gambo Ahmed and U.S Coast Guard, International Port Security Programme, Dan Danovan, at the opening of the Advanced Drills and Exercises Training organised by the IMO for personnel of NIMASA and other relevant agencies in Lagos, recently.

The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency NIMASA, has said that it working towards ensuring that all seaports, jetties, terminals and other related facilities in the country attained 100 per cent compliance with the International Ship and Port Facility Security ISPS Code.

The Federal Government had in April 2013 appointed NIMASA the Designated Authority for the implementation of the security code when compliance was less than 13 per cent, which currently stands at 90 per cent about four years after.

Director General of the agency, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, gave this assurance at the opening ceremony of the five- day workshop on Advanced Drills and Exercises organised by NIMASA in conjunction with the International Maritime Organisation IMO for ISPS implementation officers, held in Lagos recently

According to him, the agency would not rest on its oars until all the facilities in the country attain 100% compliance with the code from the current 90 per cent level.

The agency has also emphasised the Agency’s commitment towards ensuring the ports and terminals are safer and more reliable to do business in line with the Federal Government’s policy on Ease of Doing Business in Nigeria.

The Director General, who was represented at the one-day event by the Executive Director in charge of Maritime Labour and Cabotage Services of the agency, Mr. Gambo Ahmed, also said that the agency is conscious of the crucial role played by capacity building towards the successful implementation of the code.

This development, he insists, has given rise for the need for frequent training of the enforcement officers in order to acquaint them with the rudiments and current realities in the implementing the security code.

He said: “It is no secret that NIMASA has made giant strides in ISPS Code implementation in Nigeria. We do not wish to rest on our laurels as the zeal to attain 100 per cent compliance in all port facilities can only be achieved if the officers are technically equipped and updated on international standards required for ISPS Code Implementation”.

Peterside however commended the IMO for its continuous technical support to Nigeria in the enforcement of the code, saying that such support has assisted the country in the successful implementation of the code.

“The support of the IMO in providing peer review and other forms of technical support has played a major role in assisting us as the Designated Authority in raising the bar of the implementation of the code. Through this support we have been able to steadily increase compliance levels among ISPS applicable facilities and our officers have been able to guide compliance and boost awareness levels in the maritime environment”, the DG also admitted.

Meanwhile, the agency’s Executive Director Operations in charge of operations, of NIMASA, Engr. Rotimi Fashakin who is the top management line officer for the implementation of the code, said that with the commitment being shown by the management towards effective implementation of the code, the agency will soon attain the 100 per cent compliance level.

The IMO lead consultant Mr. Brian Cranmer, who also spoke at the event, said that he was impressed with the zeal shown by NIMASA towards ensuring full compliance with the ISPS Code in Nigeria.

He therefore promised IMO’s continuous support to the agency and indeed Nigeria towards the implementation of other relevant IMO instruments in the country.

It would be recalled that the compliance level of the ISPS Code in the country have been adjudged to be over 90 per cent from the about 13 percent it was when NIMASA took over as the Designated Authority.

The United States Government had in 2013 given Nigeria a nine-month ultimatum to make her seaport facilities comply with the ISPS Code or face stiff trade sanctions.

Under the proposed sanction, the country would among others face a total trade blockade by the international community, as vessels that call at the US ports and those of her allies would not be allowed to berth on any Nigerian port fertility.

It was in reaction to this threat that the Federal Government appointed NIMASA as the Designated Authority for the implementation of the code and so the agency swung into action and in the first four months of the nine-month ultimatum, more than 60 per cent of the facilities had complied,