The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has reiterated its commitment to full implementation of the International Safety Management (ISM) code.
The ISM code is an international standard for the safe management and operations of ships and for pollution prevention, which came into force July 1st1998.
Speaking at a Regional Workshop on ISM Code Implementation held in Lagos on Monday, the Director General of NIMASA, Dakuku Peterside, said the workshop organized by the agency in collaboration with the International Maritime Organization (IMO) was aimed at strengthening marine safety among maritime administrators.
Peterside, who was represented by the Executive Director, Operations of NIMASA, Engr. Rotimi Fashaki, noted that while the agency has recorded an appreciable level of compliance on the ISPS code implementation and other IMO regulations, there is need to improve the safe management of ships at sea.
He said, “The issue of safety is an ongoing conversation. If there is 100 percent compliance, we won’t be here talking about the need to train and retrain people. What the workshop is all about is to train and give full understanding to the administrators of the maritime business. In terms of compliance level, we are complying with ISPS code. Nigeria has been scored over 90 percent in terms of compliance. So we are complying with IMO regulation. But the issue of ensuring safety, safe management of ships at sea is an ongoing conversation.
“The sea component is also very important because when you have both the personnel and the ship navigating safely, you must also be mindful of the sea and making sure you are not polluting the sea and disrupting the equilibrium of that resource for man.”
Regional Coordinator, West and Central Africa, Technical Cooperation Division (IMO), Capt. Dallas Laryea said that the IMO adopted the ISM code in 1993 which requires all shipping companies operating certain types of vessels to establish integrated safety management systems to reduce accidents caused by human error.
He said the objective of the workshop was to enhance the capacity of flag administrators from the participating countries, by providing them with updated information, skills and techniques required for ISM audit.
“The ISM code is an amendment to the SOLAS which seeks to also bring the managers at shore into the management of the ship at sea to ensure that it is not just left to the crew. The shore personnel also have a role to play to make sure that those onboard the ship also adheres to safety standards.
“Countries that are signatory to the Safety of Lives at Sea (SOLAS) have responsibilities to implement the convention. They must put it in their national law and make sure that the ships that are flying their flags must implement the ISM code. In the case of Nigeria, NIMASA is supposed to audit the shipping companies to make sure that they meet the requirement of the ISM code. Once it is audited, they will be issued with document of compliance certificates which will last for five years,” he said.
Nigeria and representatives from eight other African countries participated in the workshop.