The Federal Government has reiterated Nigeria’s commitment to maritime security through the full implementation of the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code. This is even the government appealed to the United States Coast Guard to lift the sanctions it placed on some jetties and terminals which were found deficient two years ago in complying with the Code.
The commitment and appeal were made by the Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi when he led a delegation to the United States Coasts Guard (USCG) head office in Washington DC.
The Minister expressed government’s appreciation for the support of the USCG in implementing the ISPS code in Nigeria and assured the international shipping community that the country is committed to the full implementation of the code to safeguard the maritime domain.
He noted that since taking over the implementation of the ISPS code as the Designated Authority (DA) in Nigeria, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has performed creditably moving the compliance level from 9% in 2013 to 79.3% in 2016.
According to Amaechi, “Nigeria appreciates the efforts and support of the United States Government in encouraging a cordial bilateral relationship with Nigeria not only in the area of maritime security but also in other areas. I want to assure the US Coast Guard and indeed the international shipping community of Nigeria’s commitment to the full implementation of the ISPS code to further institute a strict security regime in our maritime environment”.
The Minister also requested the US government to revisit the Condition of Entry (COE) earlier placed on vessels that have called some port facilities in Nigeria which were not compliant with the code saying that over 80% of those facilities have since complied with the code and needed to be removed for the COE list.
Receiving the delegation, the Assistant Commandant of the USCG, Rear Admiral Paul Thomas expressed his country’s determination to continue to support Nigeria in its goal of full implementation of the ISPS code.
Thomas who oversees the USCG directorates of Inspection and Compliance as well as Marine Transport Systems commended Nigeria for its progress in the ISPS code implementation so far saying the visit to the US was aimed at exposing the delegation to some of the strategies adopted by America to successfully implement the code.
The visit which was at the invitation of the USCG is expected to serve as an exchange programme for the Nigerian delegation exposing them to the implementation strategies of the United States so as to replicate same in Nigeria.
The Minister was accompanied on the visit by the Director, Maritime Safety and Security in the ministry, Danjuma Dauda, the Director General of NIMASA, Dakuku Peterside and Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Usman.
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