ISPS CODE: NPA vows to enforce US conditions on non-compliant terminals

The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) on Friday said it would leave no stone unturned in enforcing provisions of the International Ships & Ports Facility Security (ISPS) Code at the nation’s seaports.

In a press release signed by its Assistant General Manager Public Affairs, Mr. Musa Ilya, NPA also stated that it would enforce provisions of the Conditions of Entry (COE) imposed on vessels visiting port terminals that have not fully complied with the ISPS code.

“Effective June 12, all vessels calling at the nation’s seaports will be required to meet all the requirements of the ship security plan equivalent to the maximum of those required at security Level 2, as defined in the ISPS Code.

“This directive which applies to all ships entering any of the nation’s seaports or port terminals is part of the additional security measure taken by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to ensure the strict compliance to the ISPS Code, by all visiting vessels.

“Similarly, the NPA has concluded the process of acquiring additional security equipment to enhance the safety and security at the nation’s seaports. All the newly acquired security equipment is expected to be fully in place before the end of next September,” he said.

Ilya quoted the NPA Managing Director, Mallam Habib Abdullahi, as stating that the security equipment which will be deployed to selected port locations in both the Western and Eastern Ports “shall include x-ray and scanning machines, waterfront patrol boats, as well as the provision of computerised access control gate with CCTV system.”

He said the equipment would be deployed to the ports in Apapa, Tin Can Island, Rivers, Onne, Calabar and Delta Ports.

He said, “According to the Managing Director, the provision of these additional security equipment would not only enhance both the safety of port operations and port users at the nation’s ports but would also guarantee the safety of all visiting ships as required by the ISPS Code provision.

“Mallam Abdullahi, who acknowledged the efforts being made by some terminal operators in complying with the provisions of the ISPS Code within their domains, commended the Federal Government for ensuring that the nation’s seaports fully implement the ISPS Code requirements.

“In the same vein, the Managing Director commended the Federal Government for designating the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) as the local authority in charge of port security, saying that the decision was in the right direction and a positive step towards achieving a full ISPS compliance.”

SHIPS & PORTS DAILY reported on Friday that the United States Government imposed Conditions of Entry (COE) on vessels originating or calling from some Nigerian port terminals which were yet to comply with the International Ships and Ports Facility Security (ISPS) Code.

A statement issued on Thursday by the United States Embassy in Nigeria said that the COE will require affected vessels to meet certain security measures prior to entering U.S. ports.

It said 22 port facilities in Nigeria are, however, exempted from the COE, as they have been found to have adequate security measures in place.

“The U.S. Coast Guard has worked cooperatively with the Government of Nigeria to identify and address port security deficiencies observed during assessments of numerous facilities during the past six years.

“Based on these assessments, it has determined that Nigerian ports have not fully implemented the provisions of the International Ship and Port Security (ISPS) Code, the primary international security standard, and do not have effective anti-terrorism measures in place.

“Twenty two Nigerian port facilities have demonstrated effective anti-terrorism measures and will not be subject to additional security precautions.

“The COE are not trade sanctions and do not ban Nigerian ships from entering U.S. ports. It does require ships, however, to take certain additional security-related measures while at non-exempt Nigerian port facilities, which will be verified by U.S. Coast Guard port security personnel prior to entering U.S. ports.

“The COE has no impact on shipping traffic entering Nigerian waters and/or berthing at its ports; it deals only with shipping traffic departing Nigerian ports that is destined for the United States,” the statement said.

The U.S. Government commended Nigeria for the clear delineation of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) as the Designated Authority for implementation of the ISPS code.

NIMASA’s designation, it said, was a positive step, “and the United States is aware of NIMASA’s efforts to improve its oversight of Nigeria’s port facilities. The U.S. Coast Guard will continue to consult with the Government of Nigeria with the goal of achieving full ISPS Code compliance, and the removal of the Conditions of Entry.”

SHIPS & PORTS DAILY authoritatively reported that most of the terminals concessioned to private operators in 2006 were cleared by the U.S Coast Guard and exempted from the Condition of Entry. They include APM Terminals Apapa, Apapa Bulk Terminal Limited, Greenview Development Nigeria Limited, Tin Can Island Container Terminal (TICT), ENL Consortium, Port and Cargo Handling Services, PTML, and West Africa Container Terminal (WACT) among others.

The International Ship and Port Facility Security Code (ISPS Code) is a comprehensive set of measures to enhance the security of ships and port facilities. It was developed in response to the perceived threats to ships and port facilities in the wake of the 9/11 attacks in the United States. The ISPS Code is implemented through chapter XI-2 Special measures to enhance maritime security in the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), 1974. The Code has two parts, one mandatory and one recommendatory.

In essence, the Code takes the approach that ensuring the security of ships and port facilities is a risk management activity and that, to determine what security measures are appropriate, an assessment of the risks must be made in each particular case. The purpose of the Code is to provide a standardised, consistent framework for evaluating risk, enabling Governments to offset changes in threat with changes in vulnerability for ships and port facilities through determination of appropriate security levels and corresponding security measures.

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