By Godwin Oritse
THE Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has constituted a national maritime search and rescueÂ Committee with a view to rescuing persons and vessels at sea.
Speaking at a meeting of maritime experts in Lagos recently, the Director-General of the maritime safety agency Dr Ade Dosunmu said that constituting the Committee was a follow up to the international Maritime Organization convention on maritime search and rescue aimed at developing international SAR planÂ Â so that distressed persons and vessels can get help as soon as possible.
Dosunmu who was represented by the Acting Director-General of the agency Dr Danjuma Dabo said that the need for Nigeria to have a good Search and Rescue organization cannot be overemphasized considering the nationâ€™s long coastal line with its fast growing offshore oil and gas industry and its high level of fishing activities within its waters.
â€œAll these require that Nigeria should have a good and efficient SAR organization with the compliment of dedicated marine radio communication and SAR boats as well as aircrafts and helicopters amongst other thingsâ€. He added.
He explained that search and rescue is every bodyâ€™s business, noting that NIMASA cannot do it without the support of other stakeholders.
Said he, â€œHowever, search and rescue is every bodyâ€™s business as we all know, that is why it is extremely important to have a National SAR Committee where all stakeholders can effectively contribute towards improving Nigeriaâ€™s SAR services thereby uplifting our image as a maritime nation.
â€œTherefore, I enjoined every agency and organization represented at this meeting to support this Committee so that at the end of the end day, we would have set a lasting legacy towards the discharge of an efficient SAR service to the benefit of all our maritime stakeholders and indeed our member nations in the SAR regionâ€.
The move to concretize the SAR project in Nigeria has started yielding result as NIMASA has rescued two distressed vessels and saved more than 200 livesÂ in the last six months
Other members of the Committee are the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), National Emergency Management Authority (NEMA), the marine police, the Nigerian Navy, the Indigenous Shipping Association of Nigeria (ISAN) and the Nigerian Trawler Owners Association (NITOA.
It would be recalled that the Federal Government through NIMASA commissioned the Regional Maritime Rescue Coordination Centers (MRCC) to signify its readiness to implement the maritime convention of the IMO.
The center was commissioned by the current Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization.