Nigeria has taken a major step towards concluding the process of domesticating five International Maritime Organisation (IMO) regulatory instruments with the submission of the instruments of assent to five protocols of the IMO in London.
This feat was achieved through the collaboration of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) being the focal point of all IMO conventions in Nigeria and the Federal Ministry of Transport (FMoT) in a bid to ensure that Nigeria continues to implement the various safety measures and practices as endorsed by the IMO.
The Nigerian High Commissioner and Permanent Representative to the IMO, Dr Dalhatu Sarki Tafida, who presented the instruments to the IMO Secretary-General, Koji Sekimizu on behalf of the Nigerian Government listed the instruments to include the Safety of Lives at Sea Protocol 1988 (as amended) and the Marine Pollution MARPOL Protocol of 1997. Others are the Protocol of 2005 to the Suppression of Unlawful Acts (SUA) Convention 1988, Protocol of 1988 to the SUA Convention Against Fixed Platforms on the Continental Shelf, and the Protocol of 1988 to the International Convention on Load Lines.
Dr Tafida noted that “this submission is borne out of the desire of the Nigerian Government to curb the menace of piracy and promote shipping activities in Nigeria and the Gulf of Guinea in line with international best practices’’
Responding, the IMO Secretary-General expressed the organisation’s pleasure on the submission of these core instruments, particularly three of which border on Ships Standard, SUA Convention and SUA Protocol, which are significant towards prevention of piracy.
Mr Sekimizu therefore urged the Nigerian government not to relent in its war against piracy in the Gulf of Guinea.
On his part, the Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr Ziakede Patrick Akpobolokemi who was represented by the Executive Director Maritime Safety and Shipping Development Capt. Bala Agaba, noted that with the deposition of the instruments of assent, the Agency was obliged to enforce the provisions of the conventions to the letter, not only on Flag Ships but also Port State Administration.
Nigeria will now domesticate and gazetted these instruments, which will provide the basis to develop guidelines on the implementation of the conventions and protocols.
Nigeria is not only highly placed but also occupies a strategic position in world shipping trade in the Gulf of Guinea. The signing of these instruments will therefore mark a turning point in the fight against ship piracy, pollution prevention and control as well as load line convention on the ship standards.
By Pita Ochai