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IMO Election: NIMASA Seeking Global Support For Nigeria In London

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Having lost out of the 2017 International Maritime Organization (IMO) council’s election into category C, NIMASA DG, Dr Dakuku Peterside at the London  International Shipping Week (LISW) rally global support for Nigeria in the coming election in December 2019. YUSUF BABALOLA Writes.

After eight years of losing out of the category C of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), has begun effort to return to the most coveted seat in the organisation.

Nigeria who have lost return to the seat for four consecutive time get reelected last in 2009 also failed to get reelected in 2017.

But, since the country lost its 2017 reelection bid, NIMASA the Nigerian representative on the Council has initiated reforms that could hinder the success of the country in the coming election in December 2019.

Part of the reforms embarked upon is the appointment of team of professionals who worked assiduously to produce a comprehensive report and recommendations to achieve the objective, on submission of their findings on reforming the nation’s ship registry.

The committee after submitting their report to the Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside said the reform will attract investment, grow the confidence of the financial community in the Nigerian flag, and make sure that we achieve the necessary global acceptability because the exposure at the moment has to be reversed.

The DG also argued that a reformed shil registry would bring respect and reputation for Nigerian shipping. So, if the NSR is solid, reputable, business ready, of course, it would command global respect. It would attract vessels to the NSR and a Nigerian flag ship leaving Nigeria to another country would earn her place and be respected.”

The NSR, he added, would mean technical competence, more dispositions by the international community,” he argued.

Also, to put Nigeria in the front seat, NIMASA begins move to fight insecurity on the nation’s water and also rally all countries across the Gulf of Guinea (GoG) to end piracy in the region.

NIMASA through the Federal Ministry of Transportation got approval from the federal government for a $195 million maritime security contract to an isreali firm for deployment of specialised security tools and manpower on the Nigerian maritime domain for safe and secure waters

The $195m three-year security contract to the Israeli firm, HLSI Security Systems and Technologies entails the acquisition and deployment of helicopters, airplanes, three big battle-ready ships, 12 vessels and 20 amphibious cars to the nation’s waters to stem the insecurity in the Gulf of Guinea.

The isreali firm is also to train Nigerians led by the Nigerian Navy (NN), the Nigerian Army, Police, Air Force, DSS and NIMASA in the effort to rid our waters of criminals.

Also, in October, NIMASA is rallying other countries in the Gulf of Guinea (GoG) on fighting piracy and other maritime crime in the region.

The Global Maritime Security Conference (GMSC) 2019 in October, is a high-level Maritime Security Conference to be hosted by Nigeria with other countries in the GOG.

The conference aimed to facilitate a clearer understanding of the challenges of maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea region and develop tailored solutions as well as coordinate efforts at strengthening regional and international collaborations to extinguish maritime threats in the region.

The conference is also to decisively move towards policy harmonization and effective implementation through regional integration and cooperation as principal method for delivering effective and efficient security in the region.

In addition to tackling threats to maritime security, strategize alternative approach to prevent cyber security attack and other forms of emerging maritime security threats.

The Conference which will be held at the International Conference Centre, Abuja, Nigeria from the 7th – 9th of October 2019 would advocate for deeper global commitment to deployment of resources for ending maritime insecurity within the region timeously.

However, having instituted the reforms, the NIMASA DG at the just concluded London International Shipping Week (LISW) announced to the world its quest to return to Category C of the IMO Council at an election scheduled to take place in December.

The Council is the executive organ of IMO and is responsible, under the Assembly, for supervising the work of the Organization. Between sessions of the Assembly, the Council performs all the functions of the Assembly.

Peterside who stated this at the dinner hosted in honor of a delegation from Nigeria at the head quarters of the International Maritime Organization, IMO with the Secretary General Mr Kitac Lim leading other Permanent and Alternate Representatives to the dinner which also had the  Chairman of the house Committee on Maritime Safety Education and Administration, Honorable Linda Ikpeazu in attendance.

Ambassador Oguntade who also doubles as Nigerian Permanent Representative at the IMO said that  the Nigerian government is committed to providing conducive environment for business in the Nigerian maritime sector to thrive.  He noted that the Global Maritime Security Conference Nigeria has committed to host from 7th – 9th October this year is another show of commitment to talking issues that may hinder business in the Nigerian maritime sector.

The DG NIMASA Dr DAKUKU Peterside while announcing Nigeria’s quest to seek election back to Council noted that Nigeria has done enough to merit a return to council at the IMO.

“Nigerian is willing and prepared to play more regional and international roles to the global maritime community but that would only be possible with your support. Let Nigeria contribute from within Council to the growth of the maritime sector globally. Lets contribute significantly to the work of the IMO.” Dakuku said.

While acknowledging the fact that Nigeria is a beneficiary of IMO technical support, the NIMASA DG noted that the issue of the Anti Piracy Act in Nigeria took firm root from the technical support that was provided by the IMO.

He also disclosed that Nigeria has ratified 40 IMO Conventions and domesticated 19 with plans to ratify and domesticate 6 more in the very near future, adding that Nigeria topped the chart on Port and Flag State Administration in West and Central Africa sub-region.

The DG at the international event also informed the international communities that the policies of the Federal Government of Nigeria in the maritime industry are targeted at encouraging Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into the sector.

He disclosed that Nigeria was to set up an International Maritime Arbitration Centre in Lagos. This, he explained, is to facilitate the timely resolution of disputes within the Gulf of Guinea area and significantly reduce ­the current trend where maritime players in the region head to London, Dubai or Singapore for arbitration on maritime issues.

The NIMASA DG assured his audience, which included key players in the global maritime industry, that the reforms in the Nigerian maritime sector were opening up vast opportunities in the industry and invited investors to take advantage of them.

He said, “I believe that the Nigerian maritime environment has the largest potential. With a population of about 200 million, which represents over half of the entire population of West Africa, potentials in shipbuilding and ship repair are available.

“In the next five years, vessels built outside Nigeria will not be allowed to participate in Cabotage trade. So you are all invited to come and invest in the shipbuilding and ship repair industry in Nigeria.”

Nigerian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, His Excellency, George Oguntade also assured the international maritime community of the commitment of the Federal Government to enhanced security on Nigerian waters.

Responding to Nigeria’s quest for return to the council, the Assistant secretary general of IMO, Dr Lawrence Barchua who spoke on behalf of the Council, noted that a review of the report on Nigeria Member State Shows availability of both Human and infrastructural capacity for Nigeria to be a leading maritime nation.

Nigeria’s strategic location in the heart of the sub region makes it the access route and gateway of main stay shipping.

Having read the Member State Audit report on Nigeria, it is clear that the country has what it takes to be a leading maritime nation,” he said.

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