The Minister of Transportation, Hon. Rotimi Amaechi has called for increased cooperation with the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to assist Nigeria in combating piracy and enhancing maritime education.
The Minister said this when he paid a courtesy visit to the Secretary General of the IMO Mr. Kitack Lim in London recently.
“Nigeria has already put in place action plans and initiatives through the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) for the implementation of the code of conduct entered into by the Heads of States and Governments of ECOWAS, ECCAS and the Gulf of Guinea Commission on the fight against piracy, sea robbery and other maritime crimes” Amaechi said.
Stressing the government’s determination to make Nigeria’s sea ports safer for international trade, the Minister said the security assessment checklist of the International Ship and Ports Facility Security (ISPS) Code are continually receiving adequate attention by both NIMASA and the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).
However, the Minister assured that Nigeria was committed to greater collaboration with the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) for the sustainable development of the Nigerian maritime industry.
He also commended the IMO for the Technical Assistance Nigeria has benefitted and assured the IMO scribe that the findings and observations of the recently concluded IMO Member States Audit Scheme (IMSAS) of Nigeria is being studied with a view to preparing and implementing Corrective Action Plans (CAPs) within the stipulated time frame.
The Minister also called for greater Technical Cooperation from the IMO with a view to reviewing programmes and curriculum of the Maritime Academy of Nigeria Oron to comply with the 2010 amendments to STCW and support to secure seatime training for the graduates of the Academy.
In his response, the IMO Scribe, Mr. Kitack Lim commended Nigeria for its commitment towards meeting the obligations of the IMO and other International Organisations.
The Secretary General assured the Minister of IMO’s cooperation in the areas of continuous training in Maritime Security, Search and Rescue (SAR), Port State Control (PSC) and capacity building for Instructors of MAN Oron.
While noting that sea time training has become a global concern, Mr. Lim said that the IMO would reach out to shipping companies towards engaging the Academy’s cadets on board vessels.
Meanwhile, the Minister also visited the Director General of IMSO, Captain Moin Ahmed in London where he sought greater technical cooperation with the International Mobile Satellite Organisation (IMSO) to enhance the performance of the country’s Long Range Identification and Tracking of Ships (LRIT) system.
While the Minister observed that as a member state of IMSO, Nigeria has a Long Range Identification and Tracking (LRIT) data centre operated by Pole Star and He said that Nigeria can benefit from greater collaboration with the IMSO to enhance the performance of the LRIT system.
The Minister also requested for further collaboration with the IMSO on the Regional Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre based in Nigeria and guidance on integrating Nigerian Maritime and Aviation Search and Rescue services.
In his remarks, the Director General of IMSO, Captain Moin Ahmed promised to collaborate with the Regional Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre in terms of staff training and update on new technology and equipment.
He also pledged the commitment of IMSO to offer guidance on the integration of the Maritime and Aviation Search and Rescue services in Nigeria.