Minister of Transport, Idris Umar
By John Iwori
Nigeria has continued to discharge her flag state control (FSC) responsibilities in line with international guidelines and conventions, as no fewer than 1,395 vessels have been inspected in the last one year.
Nigeria’s apex maritime regulatory authority, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) carries out the FSC responsibilities in Nigeria’s territorial waters on behalf of the Federal Government.
The inspection of the vessels under Nigeria’s FSC responsibility is in compliance with the global maritime watchdog, International Maritime Organisation (IMO).
IMO, which has its headquarters in London, the UK ensures that member nations comply with the provisions of international guidelines and convention.
In the same vein, no fewer than 2,705 certificates were issued under flag state survey in six districts, namely Lagos, Port Harcourt, Calabar, Warri, Lagos and Onne.
Minister of Transport, Senator Idris Umar, who disclosed this in a presentation he made while briefing the media in Abuja also stated that 318 vessels were inspected under port state control (PSC) regime.
Similarly, 1,144 certificates of competency (COC) were issued in 2011, while 378 were eligible and 251 were revalidated.
According to him, NIMASA awarded 514 different categories of certificates to inland water crafts. 5,700 discharge books were issued to qualified seafarers.
Efforts have been intensified by the agencies under the ministry to expand the scope of human capital development for the industry. In this regard, NIMASA has successfully concluded the second phase of the sensitisation programme on the Nigerian Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP) in the six geo-political zones of the country.
He explained that presently, the agency has 247 cadet trainees from different states of the federation undergoing training in different fields in India, Egypt and the UK for the programme.
“NIMASA is fully sponsoring over 60 Cadets under the NSDP second window. In addition, the Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN), Oron, Akwa Ibom State since inception in 1977 has been in human capacity development for the maritime industry.
“Over the weekend, the academy graduated 38 post graduate students and 496 cadets Higher National Diploma (HND) and Ordinary National Diploma (OND) out of which 23 best graduating students from different discipline were offered automatic employment by the various agencies under the ministry.
“The Nigerian Institute of Transport Technology (NITT), Zaria, Kaduna State in collaboration with the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, has expanded its professional programmes to serve the entire industry. The Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), trained 4,812 members of its staff in 2011 in various professional disciplines”, he added.
The Minister, who was before his appointment last year was a member of the National Assembly, also explained that stricter enforcement of the use of port reception facilities which has led to a drastic reduction in the incidence of pollution from ship garbage, have been recorded in the nation’s seaports.
He revealed that 249 vessels were inspected and 38,216 kilogrammes of garbage was recorded from 136 vessels and 604m3 of sludge from 20 vessels.