The Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside, has canvassed for the creation of peaceful and conducive atmosphere at the nation’s seaport so that the number of vessels that come to berth on the seaport can astronomically be increased to boost revenue of the sector.
Dakuku made the advocacy while delivering a speech at the 2nd stakeholder’s forum held in Calabar on Monday, saying that if the collaboration is achieved the sector stand the chance of making more vessels berthed on the ports making it possible for more jobs to be created so that huge number of youths can be taken out from the streets.
The NIMASA DG who spoke on the theme; Harnessing Maritime Potentials in an Untapped Environment Opportunities, Threats and the role of Government, stated that Nigeria has Seven functional seaport as well as 275 identified terminals, jetties, and wharfs in eight (8) coastal states which includes the Tin Can Island, Onne, Warri, Calabar, Apapa in Lagos, Bonny Offshore Terminal, and Escravos Oil Terminal.
Over 5000 vessels called at the Nigeria ports annually (both wet and dry cargo vessels). Out of about 3,033 dry cargo vessels that visited Nigerian ports in 2016, Eastern ports accounted for only 631 which are about 20%. In 2017, out of 3106 dry cargo vessels that berthed in Nigerian Ports, Eastern Ports had only 676 about 21%. Furthermore, in Q1 2018 about 749 dry cargo vessels called at the nation’s ports, 292 representing 39% of the total berthed at the Eastern ports.” NIMASA boss added
“In view of the above statistics, you will agree with me that there is need for serious collaboration with the stakeholders in the sector to ensure that the environment is made conducive enough for growth that will be premised on the sustainable development as well as present enormous opportunities for investors both as public and private partnership,” the NMASA DG stressed.
Dakuku said, “This applies especially to investments in maritime infrastructure, shipping and ancillary services, offshore services, ship building repairs, as well as marine and bunkering services.
He said that the threats associated with piracy, sea robbery, and infrastructural challenge, low capacity development and so on will be surmounted if we government at all levels, business community and the local community play their various roles sincerely.
The NIMASA helmsman added that the Agency has greatly impacted the industry in the areas of Maritime Safety and Security, through the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) code stressing that the Ports now have a compliance rate of almost 80% as 114 port facilities out of the total 145 ports in Nigeria had been complaint.
When asked what prompted the agency to organised the stakeholders forum, he said that the meeting was designed to re-engineer the operational efficiency of the Eastern ports and the Nigerian Maritime Domain.
On why the agency decided to choose the theme for discussion at the fora, the NIMASA boss stated that the theme was chosen so that stakeholders can elaborately make deliberations on how to contribute their quota within the context of the law for development of the sector.
He said that this can only be achieved by ensuring optimum maritime potentials to give other multipliers effects on the economy of the nation and as such needed to be overhauled stressing that ports being a critical infrastructure assets serve as catalysts for economic growth and development.
Dakuku maintained that With the maritime surveillance and domain awareness, the Agency can now achieve a complete profile analysis, which include the flag, registered owner, operator, beneficial owner and movements over a period of time adding that the system enables the agency to take swift decisions, in real time, on any targeted ship stressing that the agency has made another giant stride by recently acquiring 6 fast intervention vessels for Search and Rescue and Enforcement.
Other milestones recorded by the agency include capacity development through the empowerment of the indigenous ship owners by using enabling laws to make public cargo available for indigenous shipping operators in order to increase their commercial capacity and competitive advantage over their extremely capitalized and established foreign counterparts.
“I must not forget to mention the arrival of the modular floating dockyard which will help in dry docking of vessels operating in Nigeria and save Federal Government 100 million dollars annually if those vessels were dry docked outside the country.
He said that through the Nigerians Seafarers Development Program (NSDP) 1,045 beneficiaries have graduated from the project, representing about 42% graduates of the over 2500 NIMASA sponsored beneficiaries.
Other achievement recorded by the agency includes a machinery put in place by the agency for certification of seafarers, conduct of the adult of 16 maritime training institutes, including Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron to ensure that they operate in line with international standards.