Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Examining Nigeria’s Maritime Industry And Blue Economy

The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) is the apex regulatory and promotional maritime agency.

The Agency was created from the merger of National Maritime Authority and Joint Maritime Labour Industrial Council (former parastatals of the Federal Ministry of Transport) on the August 1, 2006.

The obligation of regulating the Maritime industry in Nigeria rests on the Agency through the relevant instrument.

Let’s x-ray the Nigerian maritime industry since it was established.

The Agency was established primarily for the administration of Maritime Safety Seafarers Standards and Security, Maritime Labour, Shipping Regulation, Promotion of Commercial Shipping and Cabotage activities, Pollution Prevention and Control in the marine environment, the Agency also implements domesticated International Maritime Organization

The Triple “S” Performance Organogram Of Nigerian Maritime Industry

The Triple “S” also known as the NIMASA Performance Tripod is designed as the compass of the NIMASA’s executive management in charting the course of the Agency within the three cardinal concerns that truly reflect NIMASA’s composite of mandates as both the regulator and harnesser of Nigeria’s maritime domain.

It is a three-point strategic agenda of the critical elements of the NIMASA commission drawn from the various legal and statutory instruments governing the agency’s existence and operations.

All of the various policy initiatives, interventions, plans, and partnerships of NIMASA are expected to be pursued on the platform of the tripod of Maritime Security as Existential Priority, Maritime Safety as Operational Necessity, and Shipping Development with Economic Urgency.

Origin Of Maritime Industry – National Maritime Authority

The National Maritime Authority (NMA), predecessor of NIMASA, was established by the Shipping Policy Decree of 11 May 1987, and was supervised by the Federal Ministry of Transport.

Its mandate was to ensure orderly development, protection and manpower training in the shipping industry.

The NMA also was given responsibility for monitoring marine pollution and spillage in Nigerian waters.

The oil platforms off the Niger Delta are vulnerable, and the decree recognized the role of maritime cargo carriage in defense.

Foreign Shippers

In 1988, the NMA granted six Nigerian shipping lines “national carrier” status, including the state-owned Nigerian National Shipping Line.

The NMA had plans to extend this status to more domestic companies so as to reduce control of trade by foreign-owned lines.

For reasons of national pride, the NMA did not encourage domestic shipping lines to engage in feeder services, bringing goods to a distribution point for direct onward shipping, preferring direct-line services.

Dependence on foreign shippers, who were carrying over 80% of cargo by 1992, made the country vulnerable.

When the NMA attempted to impose a dock charge of $0.25 per tonne of crude oil loaded in Nigerian ports and oil terminals, the shipping companies threatened to go elsewhere, saying the charge would make Nigerian oil uncompetitive.

The NMA had no choice but to suspend the fee.

The NMA charges on shipping lines that called into Nigerian ports were increased in 2003, with a surcharge being added to taxes on all Nigerian freights.

In December 2004, based on recommendations from the World Bank, the government announced that all NMA charges would be scrapped as of January 2005. There were delays in implementing the change.

Creation Of Nigerian Maritime Administration And Safety Agency

NIMASA was created on 1 August 2006 when the National Maritime Authority was merged with the Joint Maritime Labour Industrial Council.

Both were formerly parastatals of the Federal Ministry of Transport. Under the act establishing NIMASA, 5% of annual income would support the Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN) and 35% of income would be used to develop maritime infrastructure.

The agency provided funding to MAN for a jetty and boat project. In December 2009 the agency said it was setting up a fund which would cover 40% of the cost of a nautical education, with the student being responsible for the remainder.

In June 2010 it was confirmed that NIMASA was encouraging Nigerians to enter the maritime industry.

The agency was enforcing the directive that all ship operators engaged in the cabotage trade, whether Nigerian or foreign-owned, must have Nigerian cadets on board so they could gain sea-time experience.

However, there was still a severe shortage of trained sailors.

As of 2011 the agency was still spending large amounts on training Nigerians in India, Glasgow and Egypt because MAN lacked the capability to provide complete training.

Norwegian Minister Visits Nigerian Maritime Administration And Safety Agency

In the meantime, The Norwegian government commended Nigeria for its leading role in ensuring safety and security in the Gulf of Guinea.

Norway’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Anniken Huitfeldt made this known during a courtesy visit to the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).

The team toured the Marine Environment Management Laboratory and the Command, Control, Computer, Communication and Information Center, otherwise known as the C4i Center of the Deep Blue Project, both located at the agency’s operational office at Kirikiri, Lagos.

IN 2022, The Director General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Dr Bashir Jamoh said the agency was working towards September 2022 for the commissioning of its Maritime Safety and Regional Security Training Center in Lagos, Nigeria’s south-west.

In order to complement it’s National Seafarers Development Program (NSDP), he said the agency was setting up skill aquisition centres in the six geopolitical zones of Nigeria to develop teaming youths.

Jamoh made this known when a team from the American Embassy led by its Defense Attache, Col Williams Schaum paid a courtesy visit to the agency’s corporate office in Apapa Lagos.

According to him, the center would serve the 25 African countries in the Gulf of Guinea region as a center for research, training and ultimately to reduce the scourge of piracy in the waterways.

Former President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, on Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Lagos performed the official launch of the assets under the Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure, also known as the Deep Blue Project.

Now, According to Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Bashir Jamoh, quote “With the deployment of the assets of the Deep Blue Project, we are entering another level of national security designed for total spectrum maritime security and better domain awareness using some of the latest technology”.

So, What Is Bashir Yusuf Jamoh Hope For A New Nigeria. He says he wants to see Nigeria blue.

Why Has Nigeria Established A New Ministry For The Blue Economy?

The blue economy is the sustainable use of ocean and coastal resources for economic growth.

It integrates environmental, social, economic and institutional objectives into the use of marine resources. It includes a wide range of sectors and resources related to oceans, seas, coasts and waterways.

The Ocean Economy Supports 90% Of Global Trade And Provides Millions Of Jobs. It Includes Shipping, Tourism And Offshore Energy Valued At US$24 Trillion.

Marine fisheries and reefs, sea grass and mangroves are worth US$6.9 trillion; trade and transport US$5.2 trillion; and coastline productivity and carbon absorption US$12.1 trillion.

Nigeria’s establishment of a ministry of marine and blue economy is a strategic move. I believe the ministry will tap the country’s rich marine resources as an element of the national economic framework.






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