The director-general of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dakuku Peterside, has disclosed that Nigeria has been able to ratify 40 conventions passed by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and International Labour Organisation (ILO) covering Maritime Safety, Labour and Marine Environment.
The DG, who spoke in Lagos during the 8th Strategic Admiralty Law Seminar for Judges organised by NIMASA in conjunction with Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (NIALS), also explained that the non-implementation and enforcement of the conventions has been affecting investments in the country.
He said that so far 19 of the conventions had been domesticated by way of regulation, adoption or incorporation under the Merchant Shipping Act of 2007.
“It has been a herculean task trying to sell Nigeria to the international community for investments, because in some cases the investors had raised the issue of uncertainty in dispensation of litigation and implementations of laws. It is on the premise that the seminar titled: Strengthening Nigeria’s Admiralty Regime through Effective Implementation of International Maritime and Labour Instruments was imperative,” the DG said.
Speaking further, he stated that the agency was working closely with the Federal Ministry of Transportation under the auspices of an Inter-Ministerial Committee to ratify an additional six IMO conventions before the end of 2019 to ensure that Nigeria as an IMO member state fulfills its treaty obligation.
These conventions are; The Hong Kong International Convention for safe and environmentally sound recycling of ships 2009; Protocol Relating to Intervention on the high seas in cases of oil pollution casualties (Intervention Protocol) 1973; 1996 Protocol on limitation of liability for maritime claims (LLMC).
Others are; 2002 Protocol relating to the carriage of passengers and their luggage by sea (PAL) 1976; International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Fishing Vessel Personnel (STCW-F) 1995; and the Protocol of 2005 to the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Act against the Safety of Maritime Navigation.”
He also gave the assurance that NIMASA as a responsible agency was working with relevant stakeholders under the auspices of the IMO Mandatory States Audit Scheme (IMSAS) Corrective Action Plan Committee to ensure that all queries raised in the 2016 IMO Audit report on Nigeria’s maritime sector were addressed before the first quarter of 2019, in order to boost Nigeria’s reelection bid into Category ‘C’ of the IMO General Council.
In the area of maritime security, which is critical to actualising safe and secure shipping, the NIMASA DG informed participants that the draft suppression of piracy and other maritime offenses bill facilitated by the agency, aimed at criminalising piracy and other maritime offenses have been forwarded to the national assembly, adding that the bill has passed first reading in both chambers of the national assembly. He also expressed optimism that it would be passed to law before the end of the 8th Assembly.