The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has been commended by the United States Coast Guard for its efforts at improving security and operational efficiency within Nigeria’s maritime domain.
The commendation was made recently by a visiting coast guard delegation led by Lt Commander Janna Ott.
The team was in Nigeria to inspect facilities and ports.
Ott, a representative of the US Coast Guard in International Port Security Programme, noted that NIMASA had taken laudable steps to improve Nigeria’s compliance with the International Ship and Port Security (ISPS) Code.
She said, “You do have a really great team here. They were very helpful.
“I thank them for their frank and open discussion in allowing us to give them our observations. Hopefully, they can take whatever we have given them to heart and start working on them right away.”
Ott, however, urged greater vigilance in terms of access to the ISPS zones at the ports.
“It’s very important that you know in your port facilities who is gaining access and they are authorised to be there before they go through those gates of the ISPS zone.
“You also need to be consistent with the proficiencies of all the security personnel in holding people accountable that are coming through those port facilities. We already had a very good discussion with NIMASA,” she said.
Responding, the Director-General of NIMASA, Dr Dakuku Peterside, said Nigeria had made significant progress in addressing the issue of access control around the port areas.
Peterside, who was represented by NIMASA’s Executive Director, Finance and Administration, Bashir Jamoh, said “the issue of access control is one of the paramount areas. The access road, access control, those are very important areas.
“Similarly, on access control, we just introduced stickers to the ports. We started implementing it early this month.”
Peterside said the Federal Government had taken measures in partnership with the private sector to ensure that all port facilities in Nigeria were easily accessed.
He added that NIMASA had recorded steady progress in its implementation of the ISPS Code, stressing that Nigeria has moved from implementation to enforcement.