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Review of maritime security firms underway

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…As expert raises alarm over influx of quark RSOs

By Godwin Oritse

THE Nigerian Maritime Admistration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, has hinted that a lot of fine-tuning efforts are ongoing in the engagement of Recognised Security Organisations, RSOs, in the nation’s maritime space. A review of the work of the International Ships and Ports Facility Security, ISPS, Code Unit in the NIMASA is also ongoing.Maritime, cargo

These are coming as a member of the Maritime Security Providers Association of Nigeria, MASPAN, Terry Ajobena, said that only 10 percent of security organisations in the nation’s maritime industry are registered.

Ajobena said that there are only nine recognized security organizations, RSO, registered with the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, as against over 90 operators in the industry.

Ajobena, who was a former lead RSO, also said that the standard of engagement of these organizations has fallen saying that “the industry is too sensitive to engage quacks.”

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While warning that if urgent steps were not taken to address this issue, security of critical national assets could be jeopardized, he said: “I am sorry, as it stands today, we do not have the quality of RSOs that can stand to defend the work they are doing in our industry and we have over 90 of them in Nigeria.

“Can we go back to the time that all the designated authorities had to do is make sure that they accredited only competent RSOs and then let the port facilities themselves go to them and engage them. The port facilities know the ones that are genuine and they know the ones that are charlatans. Because they are paying for that service let them have a little bit of liberty as to who they want to work with. I am sorry I am speaking so passionately about this issue and I am sure I am also speaking for some of the RSOs that are present here.”

Reacting to these issues, the Director General of the NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, described what was happening as a Nigerian thing, noting that once a particular business was seen as being lucrative, people tended to rush into such businesses.

Peterside who was represented by Captain Sunday Umoren, Director Seafarers Standards, also said that a lot of fine-tuning efforts were ongoing adding that a review of the work of the International Ships and Ports Facility Security, ISPS, Code Unit in NIMASA was also ongoing.

He admitted that NIMASA’s management has not looked or reviewed the checklist for the selection of RSOs adding that the issue must be revisited and that the committee will be very objective in its selection.

Umoren said: “This issue you have raised will surely be looked into, we will review the criteria and make necessary amendments. We will be very objective and ensure that whatever criteria we have set out for selection of RSOs is strictly adhered to.

“I disagree with the issue of quality of RSOs. May be you have seen one or two that have fallen below standards but we will still review the checklist, we will review the guidelines on the selection of RSOs and I can assure you that the outcome will meet international standards.”

Vanguard

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