By Kenneth Jukpor
In a bid to eliminate the navigational hazards associated with ship scraps on Nigerian waters, the Director General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety (NIMASA), Dr. Bashir Jamoh has resolved to tackle the menace of ship scraps littering the country.
Dr. Jamoh gave this assurance during a parley with journalists on Friday, last week as he noted that the issue of scraps has become a huge challenge to safe navigation on the nation’s water.
“I didn’t know the extent of the challenges we had with ship scrapping until recently. In fact, the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas made the complaint to me and he lamented that the level of wrecks between Badagry and Tin Can Island is shocking. He also mentioned that behind his office, which is around Kirikiri, he used to have a scrapping office to scrap ships.”
“His personal vessel got cracked because of these scraps. I wanted to delve in immediately but I discovered that there are licensing issues. I couldn’t just clear the scrapping shops but have realizing that they are licensed I had to hesitate a bit. The reason is that I have to be law abiding because NIMASA gave out licenses for this operation.”
“Since the time I promised the CNS that I would deal with the scrapping operators behaving recklessly, I have got over five applications for licensing renewals. So, I sent the applications to by Special Adviser so I would inspect the ship scrapping offices myself,” Jamoh said.
He also described the ship wrecks as valuable assets worth significant sums when duly scrapped, stressing that the agency would deal with those involved in illegal ship scrapping because they were robbing the nation of its assets.
The NIMASA boss also disclosed that the agency was engaging all stakeholders, including the media to rejig the industry for greater performance.
He revealed that a total of 27 alleged pirates were apprehended in the last three months of his administration, with 17 in the custody of the Nigerian Police, while 10 were arrested by the Nigerian Navy in collaboration with NIMASA and they are facing prosecution in accordance with the anti piracy law.
Noting that since 2016, no single pirate has been arrested in Nigerian waters until the last two months, he said the feat was achieved by the joint efforts of the NIMASA, Nigerian Navy and the Nigerian Police, as the agencies share information at different levels.
He added that 156 personnel comprising of NIMASA staff, Navy, Police and NPA have so far been trained to battle criminality in Nigerian waters, adding that each of the agencies all have their own platforms , but are working together to harmonised all the platforms so as to have a more coordinated strategy.
Jamoh assured that the NIMASA Regional Maritime Coordination Centre (RMCC) located at Kirikiri area of Lagos state which ought to coordinate maritime information among nine African countries in the West and Central African region would start functioning by September.
On NIMASA’s floating dock, Jamoh said the agency was finalizing plans with NPA to deploy the floating dock to the Continental Shipyard owned by the NPA under a Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement.
He added that already oil and gas majors are ready to dry dock their ships with the facility and the facility is expected to generate over N1billion monthly with over 350 workers employed. He added that the floating dock could also serve foreign exchange and generate more revenue for the government as well as served as seatime training for Cadets in mechanical and electrical fields.
On the Deep Blue project, he said over 85% of the project have been achieved.