By Kenneth Jukpor & Okuneye Moyosola
The first quarter of 2019 has just ended. Despite the nation shifting its attention to the recent general elections, the transport sector was at the centre of such activities. MMS Plus x-rays the activities of transport agencies during the period. How did the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Accidents Investigation Bureau (AIB) and the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT) fare.
For the grading system: A =90-100%, B+ = 80-89%, B =70-79%, C+ =60-69%, C =50-59%, D =40-49% and E = 30-39%, F = 0-30%. Enjoy it:
Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA)
NIMASA is the agency saddled with the onus of maritime administration and safety; to pursue the development of shipping and regulatory matters relating to merchant shipping and seafaring.
NIMASA’s core functions would be unbundled into ten (10) parts, each carries 10 points:
Administration and regulation of shipping licenses:
No significant improvement has been recorded in this area. Nevertheless, the agency is set to receive the report by a strategic committee tasked with improving the Nigerian ship register. According to the Committee chairman, Engr. Emmanuel Ilori the nation would observe positive changes in this area in the near future if the recommendations by the committee are adopted.
Score = 4/10
Administration, Regulation and Certification of Seafarers:
Nothing significant has been observed in this area as lack of Nigerian owned/ flagged vessels means no opportunities for seafarers to obtain the requisite seatime and become employable seafarers. NIMASA continues to restate its commitment to partnerships with international institutions for sea time training of Nigerians under the Nigerian Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP). The agency signed a Memorandum of Understanding between the Agency and the Maritime Academy of India for on-board sea time training of some graduates of the programme. The MoU covered the training of 60 cadets in three batches of 20 each. However, NIMASA needs to look inwards and empower indigenous ship owners to absorb cadets.
Score = 2/10
Establishment of Maritime Training and Safety Standards/ Regulation of safety of shipping as regards the construction of ships and navigation:
The dearth of competent officers to play this role remains an impediment, so it was not attended to in the period under review.
Score = 0/10
Maritime Search and Rescue Services and Providing direction to ensure compliance with vessels security measures:
Search and rescue operations in the country is yet to improve, with operators lamenting that NIMASA has been unable to render assistance when such services were needed.
Score = 3/10
Provide Maritime Security:
Armed robbery at sea continues to hold sway in the nation while operators in the Eastern part of the country still pay huge sums to engage private security or hire Naval officers as personal security. NIMASA says there’s hardly piracy on Nigerian waters but the Navy says it has identified 33 security hotspots on the nation’s territorial waters but has only been able to cover 9 areas as a result of paucity of funds.
NIMASA has several projects and contracts lined up to address this problem. However, the nation’s waters remain highly insecure. The relief anticipated with the passage of the Anti-Piracy bill is also dissipating as the 8thNational Assembly winds down in few weeks.
Score = 2/10
Enhance and administer the provision of Cabotage Act 2003/ Control and prevent Maritime Pollution:
Several factors have limited the administration of Cabotage in the country as NIMASA has been limited by the challenge that Nigerian ship owners do not have the required vessels for the jobs. However, the agency would have little excuses on the fact that Nigerian waters speak dirt and pollution.
Score = 3/10
Develop and implement policies and programs, which will facilitate the growth of local capacity in ownership, manning and construction of ships and other maritime infrastructure:
Indigenous operators continue to clamour for better opportunities via local capacity ownership, manning, construction, among others, nevertheless, no programme has been organized and no policy developed to address this function so far in 2019.
Score = 0/10
Perform Port and Flag State duties:
The agency has performed modestly to enforce regulations over vessels registered under its flag, including those relating to inspection, certification, and issuance of safety and pollution prevention documents. It has also fared well in performing port state duties.
Score = 5/10
NIMASA has been commended by the IMO for following its conventions especially in compliance to ISPS code but the agency is yet to soar on the massive maritime advantages and cargo traffic in the nation.
Score = 7/10.
Carry out Air and Coastal Surveillance:
NIMASA performed well here but it was probably as a result of the collaboration between the agency, the Nigerian Navy and the Nigerian Airforce. The new approvals for the Nigeria Navy for helicopters that would also cover the areas of search and rescue operations is a welcome development.
Score = 6/10
NIMASA has started 2019 brightly with a crucial maritime sector forecast that predicted 10% contribution of the sector to the 2019 Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Although the veracity of this projection is debatable, what isn’t debatable is the fact that the agency has been more focused as an organization under the leadership of Dr. Dakuku Peterside. 2019 is a year that could see the agency soar with IMO Council elections coming up later this year, but the agency needs to spend less energy celebrating menial success as it expended more resources and attention to celebrate frivolities in 2018 while the bulk of the NIMASA job was left undone. NIMASA has a crucial role to play in developing the capacity of indigenous ship owners and ensuring Cabotage thrives.
Total Score 31/100
Grade E (31%)
Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA)
For the purpose of this study, the functions of NPA, also known as the landlord of Nigerian ports, were grouped in five major areas, with each carrying 20 points:
• Ownership and administration of land and water within port limits/ Planning and development of port operational infrastructure
Despite NPA’s instructions to shipping lines that they acquire and utilize holding bays for storage of their empty containers rather than abandon them on trucks clogging the port access roads, the traffic gridlock as has extended to neighbouring communities. The problem characterized the first quarter excerpt election days when the trucks mysteriously vanished.
Score = 3/20
• Leasing and concession of port infrastructure and setting bench mark for tariff structure
As landlord, the Authority continues to show no concern about the work environs and challenges facing port terminal operators; continuously reneging on promises made to concessionaires in aspects of dredging while it collects duties. The plight of genuine investors like the terminal operators in Calabar port have been neglected by the Authority.
Score = 3/20
• Day to day monitoring of operations and enforcement of relevant sections of respective agreements.
The Authority displayed resilience in monitoring and enforcing relevant national policies like the monetary payment into the Treasury Single Account (TSA).
NPA is currently carrying out the amendment of the concession agreement with the operators and other key agencies of government to eliminate the multiple challenges in the system.
Score = 15/20
• Responsible for Nautical/Harbour operations and Hydrographic survey/ Marine incidents and pollution
Despite public display of NPA tugboats commissioned in 2017, operators lament over the unavailability of such services when required last year. Little was done to curb pollution and issuing statistics on marine incidents.
Score = 5/20
• Maintenance of safety and security at the common user areas/ Enacting port regulations and bye-laws as well as monitor and enforce them
The Authority’s role in scrutinizing and ensuring only certified trucks and freight forwarders are allowed entry into the ports has been marred by corruption as substandard trucks possess NPA stickers after bribing while anyone could walk into the ports with or without a bribe.
Score = 5/20
The Authority is expected to make significant progress especially with the resilience and drive of the Managing Director, Ms. Hadiza Bala-Usman. 2019 could see NPA make giant strides in port management as the Managing builds on her experience about the sector.
Total Score 31/100
Grade = E (31%)
Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB)
The Nigerian Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) is under the Ministry of Transportation and is charged with the responsibility to investigate any civil aircraft accident and serious incident arising out of, or in the course of air navigation and occurring either in or over Nigeria, or occurring to Nigerian aircraft elsewhere.
The fundamental objective of AIB is to improve aviation safety by determining the circumstances and causes of air accidents and serious incidents, and providing safety recommendations intended to prevent recurrence of similar accidents. The purpose of this is not to apportion blame or liability.
The Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) appears to have performed well as far as this function is concerned. The agency during the period in review made public the findings of accidents and incidents reports in the sector.
In February, the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) released a detailed preliminary report on how the helicopter that conveyed Vice President Yemi Osinbajo crashed in Kabba, Kogi State. The agency also issued two immediate safety recommendations to Caverton Helicopters, operators of the crashed chopper and the industry regulator, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).AIB also released the preliminary accident report with 17 initial findings, among which was the occurrence of a brownout while landing. This shows that the agency is up to the task in providing accident report and safety recommendations.
The Nigerian College of Aviation Technology Zaria, lost one of its TB-9 Tampico aircraft after a forced landing by the pilot on March 1, 2019. The Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) investigated the accident and attributed it to engine failure.
In terms of partnership, the agency has achieved a lot in the first quarter. The Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) and the Benin Republic Bureau of Air Accident Investigation recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to boost cooperation in terms of air accident investigation and capacity building.
The AIB Commissioner, Akin Olateru, said the pact was to help Republic of Benin to fulfill international obligation on accident investigation. According to the commissioner, this was the first time a Nigerian institution was signing a cooperation agreement with a foreign counterpart.
In this regard, we score the agency 55/100.
Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT)
NCAT is responsible for performing training on Aviation personnel. The College boasts of more than 50 years of experience in providing human resource development in the aviation industry in Africa and is well on its way to becoming a reputable global provider of aviation training. NCAT undertakes training programmes to meet both national and international requirements. Training is also provided in non-aviation specific areas such as computer equipment maintenance and satellite communication principles. The college’s aviation training programmes are also in conformity with ICAO standards and recommended practices.
The Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT), disclosed plans to increase its modern training aircraft to 14 this year.
The Rector of NCAT, Mohammed Abdulsalam, noted that the federal government had given approval for NCAT to acquire 20 Diamond aircraft, comprising five DA42 twine engine and 15 with DA40 single engine. These acquisitions in addition to the eight serviceable aircraft already being put in use by NCAT will increase the number of training aircraft for students to 14.
Over the years, NCAT has been sending its firemen to Cameroon for training. However, this year would be an exception as an automatic fire simulator has also been installed at to provide training for fire officers, which was hitherto done in Cameroun and other countries.
This development shows that the college is safe and conducive for learning for foreign and local students.
Having objectively looked into the performance of the roles expected of NCAT, the institution is scored: 50/100
2019 looks bright for AIB and NCAT as they both started the year with notable improvements in the sector. We hope for more developments in the next quarter.