By Godwin Oritse
THE Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has signed todayÂ the Long Range Identification Tracking System ( LRIT)Â Services Agreement with International Mobile Satellite Organization (IMSO) in London UK.
The essence of the agreement is to further safe guard and secure the Nigerian maritime domain.
This Agreement represents the institutional arrangements between IMSO and NIMASA as operator of the Nigerian National LRIT Data Center, at governmental level.
To this end,Â NIMASA has also signed a contract with Pole Star Space Applications Limited to operate Nigeriaâ€™s National Data Center on its behalf.
The Agreement was signed on behalf of Nigeria by Mr Temisan Omatseye, the Director General of NIMASA and Captain Esteban Pacha-Vicente Director General of IMSO.
This agreement isÂ a direct reflection of Nigeriaâ€™s seriousness in the compliance and implementation of the LRIT scheme
Mr Omatseye expressed his appreciation to IMSO for the dedicated work it continues to carry out to ensure the integrity and timely worldwide operation of the LRIT system.Â He discussed with IMSO the possibilities that the LRIT system offers to Nigeria to improve maritime safety and security, including monitoring transit and operations of ships in the area.-
A total of 26 LRIT Services Agreements have so far been signed.
The LRIT Services Agreement, prescribed in the IMSO Convention, establishes the relationship between IMSO, as the LRIT Coordinator appointed by IMO, and the LRIT Data Center for the audit and review of each Data Center.
A Model LRIT Services Agreement was approved for this purpose by the IMSO Assembly at its Twentieth Session on Malta in 2008.
The IMSO LRIT Audit Procedures provide that the LRIT Data Center Operator should sign an LRIT Services Agreement/Contractual Arrangements with IMSO before the Audit takes place, and settle its financial obligations with IMSO before the final audit report is submitted to the IMO Maritime Safety Committee.
Six LRIT Data Centres were integrated into the original LRIT production environment at the end of 2008, and are due to be audited by IMSO at the end of 2009.
In addition, a further thirty-one LRIT Data Centres have been integrated into the LRIT system by IMSO, and will be audited during 2010 in line with the dates of their integration.
A further eleven LRIT Data Centres, including the Nigeria National Data Centre,Â are in the process of testing, and are expected to be integrated shortly:
This will bring the total number of LRIT Data Centres integrated by the end of 2009 to 48 overall.Â These Centres integrate more than 80 percent of the worldâ€™s registered fleet.