The International Maritime Organisation(IMO) has commended NIMASA’s efforts at ensuring that Nigeria complies with the implementation of the International Ship and Port Facility Security(ISPS) Code.
Speaking at the opening of a five-day ‘train-the-trainer’s programme in Lagos, the IMO Lead Consultant, Mr Brian Cranmer , said the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency(NIMASA) had shown commitment to ISPS Code implementation through several programmes put in place.
He said: “From what I have seen and what I am hearing, NIMASA has a very good programme in place; they are all trying hard, carrying out inspections.
“ I have been with them when they carry out these inspections and they are as good as any other country that are implementing the ISPS Code.”
Cranmer also commended the restriction of movement in and out of the ports, saying it was a step up in security consciousness in the ports.
“The port security is okay, because now, they have systems in place; you cannot just get into the ports unless you have an identification card.
“The ports that I have seen, meets the requirements fully, and Nigeria is coming on in leaps and bounds and I think with NIMASA and the compliance department, the inspections are in the right direction.”
He noted that some other countries were still struggling with complying with the ISPS Code implementation due to lack of legislation, and others due to financial constraints.
He, however advised against incessant movement of staff, which could hamper steady progress after some people have undergone technical trainings.
“There is usually a lot of movement of staff, but you need to keep the staff you have got.
“The staff you have employed and trained should be technically employed and technically trained and you keep them, because they are your assets.
“Once you have trained staff, they understand how to carry out audits, inspections, how to do the enforcement programme, then you will find the rest of the programme becomes easy,” Cranmer said.
Earlier, in an opening address, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, the Director General of NIMASA, said the training programme was “a demonstration of IMO’s commitment to building competence among member States in the implementation of key maritime conventions.”
Peterside said the training was a direct outcome of the IMO Need Assessment conducted between Jan. 25 and 29, 2016, during which a high standard of implementation of the ISPS Code was observed and commended.
He said that to sustain the positive trajectory of the process, the IMO recommended additional training for key NIMASA personnel and stakeholders in the implementation of the provisions of the code.
According to the NIMASA boss, the training would avail participants with a good insight of the DA’s implementation process and a forum for deliberation on contemporary issues related to ensuring compliance by port facilities.
He said it will also provide an invaluable networking opportunity for government stakeholders, the importance of which aligns with the effort to build a critical mass of support for the process.
Head of the ISPS Unit in NiMASA, Capt. Elei Green Igbogi, an Assistant Director in the agency, said no fewer than 30 participants were undergoing the training.
He disclosed that the participants were ISPS officers from NIMASA, the Nigerian Ports Authority, the National Inland Waterways Authority, and staff of the Ministry of Transportation.
Capt. Igbogi said that the training was necessitated by findings from a Needs Assessment done earlier in January by the IMO, after it had attested to the country’s compliance with the Code.
In his words: “When they carried out the Need Assessment this year, they saw some gaps that should be filled, and the whole essence is to make us close the gaps and make improvement.
“This ‘train-the-trainer’ training is to train some of us and we can now escalate the training further to other agencies and other port facility users in the shipping industry, to make the ports safe.”
The training programme, which consists of workshops would build participants and equip them to be able to train others through presentations and necessary exercises.