The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency NIMASA, has said that it would stop at nothing in ensuring that all seaports and jetties complied fully with the requirements of the International Ships and Ports Facility Security ISPS Code.

This is despite the successes already achieved in the implementation of the code in the country.

Meanwhile, the agency has made the use of biometric identity cards for all port operations in the country.

Director General of the agency, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, who gave this assurance, stated that NIMASA will not rest on its oars until the full implementation of the code is attained. The DG spoke while declaring open the ISPS Code Auditors’ Training conducted by the International Maritime Organisation IMO in conjunction with the agency held recently in Lagos.

He noted that as the Designated Authority DA, for the implementation of the code in Nigeria, the agency has embraced relevant training programmes to acquaint its operational members of staff of the rudiments of ensuring that the nation’s seaports and jetties remained safe for economic growth and development.

It was however gathered that the training was a follow up to the previous Ports Facilities Security Officers PFSO’s training conducted by the IMO in conjunction with the agency in August last year.

“This training is a continuation of the series of training programmes highlighted for the technical support of the IMO to enhance the maritime security of port facilities in Nigeria. The aim is to sustain the high standard of the implementation of the code in line with global best practices. The training will equip participants with in-depth skills of carrying out audits which will further reflect high level compliance by stakeholders”, the DG said..

Peterside however commended the efforts other sister agencies, especially the Nigerian Ports Authority NPA for their cooperation and dedication towards achieving a safe maritime environment.

It was also gathered that the Honourable Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi has approved a unified biometric identity card system for operatives and workers, which will be a requirement for accessing any port facility in Nigeria as part of measures to further boost security in those facilities.

The IMO lead consultant Mr. Brian Cranmer, who also spoke at the event, commended the management of NIMASA for its commitment towards the full implementation of the code and assured that the IMO will continue to support NIMASA to achieve this target.

He said:“This commitment is evident in the promptness of the IMO towards the delivery of the important training programmes to enhance the competence and capacity of the participants for the benefit of the agency in particular and the Nigerian nation in general”.

“It is worthy to note that the Dr. Peterside led management of NIMASA is leaving no stone unturned in ensuring that Nigeria’s maritime space is safe and secure for shipping activities; this is obvious in the reduction of piracy on Nigeria’s waterways as shown by a recent report released by the International Maritime Bureau IMB.

The Federal Government had in May 2013 appointed NIMASA as the DA for the enforcement of the ISPS code regulations in Nigeria.

NIMASA is also the agency of the government with the statutory responsibility to regulate shipping, maritime safety and security as well as maritime labour regulations among others as enshrined in its enabling legislation, the NIMASA Act 2007.

This appointment followed the dissolution of the defunct Presidential Implementation Committee on Maritime Safety and Security PICOMSS.

The agency had since then left no stone unturned in trying to ensure full compliance to the ISPS Code regulations by port facilities in the country.

This resolve to enthrone a regime a international best security practices in the country has led to the stepping on powerful toes, as some seaport facilities were shut for not meeting some requirements and were later reopened when they demonstrated the will and capacity to address those breaches.

It was in the light of these efforts that the United States Coast Guard recently commended the management of for its drive in the implementation of the code having surpassed the 70 per cent compliance threshold given to IMO member nations.