By GODFREY BIVBERE & VICTORIA EDEMA
The Federal Government is set to introduce 12 regulations for the control of marine pollution in the country.
In a paper delivered at a training workshop titled “Issues in Enforcement of NIMASA Act-the Legal Perspectives,” organised by the Maritime Reporters Association of Nigeria (MARAN), Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Patrick Ziakede Akpobolokemi, said that the regulation will give the agency the powers needed to protect the nation’s waters in accordance with the international standard.
Represented by Executive Secretary and Legal Adviser, Barrister Matthew Egbadon, Akpobolokemi said the regulation will include sewage, garbage dumps, ships registration as well as regulation on dangerous/obnoxious wastes, amongst others.
The NIMASA boss explaiend that they have gotten approval for the regulations and that copies of the 12 regulations have been sent to the agency.
He pointed out that NIMASA would soon commence an elightenment campaign before the enforcement of the law begins.
He, however, stressed that such regulations should not be seen as novel in maritime administration, “because they apply in other countries as well.”
Asked whether the addition of responsibilty would not be too much for the agency, knowning that it had difficulties in enforcing both the the NIMASA act as well as the Cabotage Act, Akpobolokemi said that that the major problem before now was the absence of operational platforms (patrol boats) for effective policing which the contract with Messrs Global West Vessel Specialist Nigeria Limited (GWVSNL) has solved.
He further explained that in the past, the absence of platforms made it difficult to monitor and punish offenders, a situation which exposed the nation’s waterway to all forms of pollution.
It would be recalled that the Chairman, Sea and Cargo Logistics, Raphael Christopher, had alleged that many foreign ships on the nation’s territorial waters are doing illegal business, polluting the nation’s territorial waters with waste from their ships and seriously depleting fish stocks.
He, therefore, urged the Minister of Transport, Senator Idris Umar, to fashion out a policy that will facilitate effective management of ship generated waste within the Nigerian marine and coastal environment.
He said that 28 countries with an aggregate merchant shipping tonnage of 26.37 per cent of the world total, have ratified the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) convention.
He noted the ballast waters have been recognised as one of the major vectors causing the invasive alien species in aquatic environments.