In a bid to ensure that ships plying the Nigerian waters comply with international standards, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) plans to monitor and control green house gas (GHG) emissions from shipping in line with the Kyoto protocol and under the auspices of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).
To this end, NIMASA has vowed to stop vessels with high amount of sulphur in fuel that allows for emission of carbon monoxide into the air from berth at the nationâ€™s seaports.
The Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside disclosed this at a one-day national stakeholdersâ€™ forum on Marpol Annex VI and other emerging issues on climate change in the Nigeria maritime sector.
Peterside said that IMO through Annex VI has put a cap to the amount of sulphur and nitrogen dioxide emitted into the air and the sulphur that is contained in the fuel ship used and emitted into the air.
Specifically, he said penalty for vessels that violate the latest convention is to bar them from calling at the nationâ€™s seaports.
He said: â€œWhen vessels berth at our various ports, we take sample of fuel and so many other things we do to check the quality of fuels and emissions there off. But, the penalty for violation of Marpol Annex VI would be not allowing such vessels to call in our territorial waters.
â€œThe principal reason is to raise awareness on impacts of climate change, especially the negative impacts of gas emissions from ships to climate change and the IMO has ratified Marpol Annex VI that deals with emissions of gas from ships.â€
The NIMASA boss also noted that Nigeria must address the threat of climate change in other to effectively and efficiently maximise the abundant resources in the nationâ€™s oceans and seas.
He said, according to statistics, Nigeria, Libya, Egypt and Morocco contributed a total of 46 per cent of greenhouse gasses in Africa, while South Africa unilaterally contributed 38 per cent.
â€œShips contribute to emissions of carbon monoxide to the atmosphere, which contributes to climate change and if not checked overtime, it will have negative effect on the atmosphere and the environment. The United Nations target is to reduce, per gross domestic product (GDP), emission from 0.873kg carbon dioxide in 2015 to 0.493kg by 2030,â€ he said.
He added that while the IMO is working to produce regulatory regimes for the international shipping industry, NIMASA has not been slow to understand its responsibilities with regards to GHG emissions from ships and other maritime sources.
â€œAnd as such, the agency has been, among others, building capacity on issues of climate change through participations at regional, international and national workshops, seminars as well as conferences, meetings, presentations,â€ he said.
On his part, the agencyâ€™s Executive Director Operations, Mr. Rotimi Fashakin said NIMASA through its Marine Environment Management Department (MEND) is spearheading the Nigerian maritime industryâ€™s drive towards full compliance with the benchmark GHG emissions reduction stages.
â€œWe consider ourselves fortunate to labour under the umbrella of the Federal Ministry of Transportation. The director general of NIMASA has endeavoured, sometimes arguably beyond the call of duty, to maintain the placement of climate change on the front burner of the agencyâ€™s packed work plan for the year.
â€œHe has continued to lead the way by maintaining an incredible intellectual velocity in matters hitherto exclusive preserve of the academia, all for the sake of the maritime environment and our planet at large. Being acutely aware of the monumental task scale of the task at hand therefore, NIMASA management has considered it apt and needful to ensure that this awareness is shared by all its stakeholders. It is for this reason that we have invited here today, the best brains in the multi-dimensional aspects of climate change to determine and drive the national discourse,â€ he stated.