ELECTRONIC CERTIFICATES, MEPR TO ENHANCE TRADE and SECURITY-NIMASA
As FDFA Assures on Greater Synergy
In a bid to ensure the authenticity, validity and security of Ship Registry Certificate in Nigeria, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has announced the electronic verification of the new Ship Registry Certificates the Agency introduced in July.
In a statement signed by Mr. Edward Osagie, the Agency’s Assistant Director Public Relations, NIMASA said the new Ship Registry Certificates now have QR Codes (Quick Response Codes) embedded in them to enable Ship-owners, Stakeholders and Enforcement officers of the Agency verify the validity of the certificates.
The statement also disclosed that the Agency has also commenced enforcement of full compliance with the Marine Environment Protection Regulation statutory requirements and documentation on Nigerian and foreign flagged vessels operating within the country’s maritime domain.
With the announcement, all ship-owners and operators are now required by law to update their vessel documentations, which include all permits or exemptions, levies, record books and plan approvals as this is also a pre-condition for further processing of any vessel or company requests with the Agency.
NIMASA warns that it would not hesitate to sanctions operators who fail to comply with the relevant requirements.
Mr. Osagie said this new directive is pursuant to the Agency’s statutory mandate to implement all provisions applicable to marine environment protection and documentation as enshrined in the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL), 1973; the Merchant Shipping Act, 2007; and the NIMASA Act 2007.
The Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, said effective application of environmental protection regulations in the maritime domain was crucial to the country’s quest for economic development.
Jamoh emphasized that the Agency’s interest in bringing relevant stakeholders on board is to facilitate a sound and seamless certification and marine environment protection regime.
In his words “We are deliberate, methodical, and strategic in the enforcement of the environmental protection requirements as they relate to our own laws and international regulations that we accede to.
“A well protected marine environment guarantees investors’ confidence, which is a basic necessity for the maximisation and optimisation of our rich maritime endowments. This touches directly on the country’s economic diversification and sustainable development drive. We are enthroning a sound and sustainable marine environment protection system that serves the interests of both the country and the operators. And necessary steps have been taken to ensure we have stakeholders on the same page.”
On the electronic verification of certificates, Dr. Jamoh said, “The Agency has adopted technology to guarantee more security for our documents and give stakeholders and the international shipping community greater confidence in our services.”
NIMASA’s Registrar of Ships, Mrs. Nneka Obiayor, said security and business facilitation were the chief considerations in the introduction of the electronic verification of new Ship Registry Certificates.
According to Obiayor, “Safety and security of ships as well as ease of doing business are of uppermost priority in the design and implementation of the electronic verification of our newly-introduced Ship Registry Certificates. With a blend of technology and creativity, we have introduced new features intended to make our ship registration certificates more secure and easier to process.” Obiayor said.
In a related development Dr. Bashir Jamoh, has called for greater synergy between NIMASA and the Federal Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture (FDFA) to ensure safety of fishing vessels and their operators in Nigeria.
Dr. Jamoh made the call in Lagos at a strategic meeting with officials of FDFA to discuss issues relating to safety of fishing vessels, Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing, and broader crimes that take place during fishing operations and related matters.
Represented by the Head, Special Duties (External Relations and Technical Cooperation), Mr. Isichei Osamgbi, the Director General noted that there should be adequate information sharing between FDFA, which has the mandate to license fishing vessels, and NIMASA that is responsible for registration and survey of the vessels to ensure that unseaworthy vessels are not licensed to operate in Nigerian waters.
According to him, “It is important that NIMASA and the Federal Department of Fisheries agree to continuously collaborate on modalities for registration, survey and licensing of fishing vessels to ensure that all safety standards are met before they can be allowed to operate. This would drastically reduce incidents involving fishing vessels in our waters.”
On maritime security, Jamoh said with the acquisition and training of operators of the Deep Blue assets, the days of criminal elements in Nigeria’s maritime domain were numbered, as the assets had been fully deployed.
In his own remarks, Head of Monitoring, Control and Surveillance at the FDFA Lagos Office, Mr. Paul Opuama, thanked NIMASA for hosting the meeting, saying it provides a very useful opportunity to not only clear some grey operational areas but also foster greater collaboration in order to improve safety of fishing vessels.