By GODWIN ORITSE& GODFREY BIVBERE
LAGOS—The Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, has stated that the effective implementation of the International Ship and Port Facility Security, ISPS, Code, will involve a continuous year to year inspection of port facilities to meet up with the required standard, as against an ad-hoc fire brigade exercise.
This was made known at a briefing press conference addressed by the Director-General, DG, of the Agency, Mr. Ziakede Akpobolokemi, alongside the Executive Director in charge of Maritime Safety and Shipping Development, Capt. Bala Agaba, on the progress made so far in the new Designated Authority (DA) for ISPS Code implementation.
According to the DG, “Since receiving the DA mandate formally with an official letter issued by the Ministry of Transport on May 21, 2013, NIMASA immediately set out to institute a fresh implementation programme as needed. The supposed 90-day ultimatum issued by the US Government to Nigeria requiring compliance with the ISPS Code was actually issued in April and was prior to NIMASA being appointed the DA.
“Therefore, it is important to note that the implementation is not being fast tracked for the deadline but has always been an International Maritime Organisation (IMO) requirement, which NIMASA has been working towards attaining but coincidentally falls within the window period issued by the United States Coast Guard (USCG).”
“Since assuming responsibility as the DA for the Code implementation, NIMASA has had a general stakeholders conference, which was convened to announce the new arrangement and to sound off the public on the imminent activities and programme to accompany this new ISPS implementation. An action plan was developed and activated to close reported gaps and this included dispatching competent Recognized Security Organizations (RSOs) to conduct security surveys and assessments aimed at identifying and correcting these deficiencies and any other observed vulnerabilities.
“NIMASA has focused not only on Port Facilities (PFs) listed in the United States Coast Guard report but on the generality of PFs in the nation’s maritime domain. This action plan has been given a nod by the USCG and it has pledged to support the efforts of the DA in ensuring the issues raised are remedied. The DA has outlined its implementation framework in the form of a handbook to enable the public understand its agenda with respect to this new implementation regime. The Agency has also inaugurated a Committee to help oversee the mandate.”