Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) is considering new measures to advance regulation and operational enforcement in cabotage trade.
Director-General of the agency, Dakuku Peterside said the agency would adopt a holistic approach at improving human and infrastructural capacities across its zonal operational offices in the country and empowering the zonal offices to become centres of NIMASA operations.
While interacting with the agency’s staff at the Yenegoa office, as the management began its tour of the Eastern operational zone, Dakuku said part of the measures to be taken to deepen regulation would include a published guide on river crafts and engagement of adhoc search and rescue marshals to monitor small river craft and monitor safety adherence on the crafts.
He said, “unregulated maritime and oil and gas activities are posing serious dangers to our marine environment. In the next few weeks NIMASA will publish a guide on small river craft. A lot of crime is carried out with the crafts and we must do something quick to check that.
“We will also look at the option of engaging search and rescue marshal to be employed on adhoc basis to monitor small river craft and monitor safety on the crafts.”
While expressing satisfaction with the regulatory approach of the Yenegoa operations in spite of their obvious constraints, the NIMASA DG said the issue of providing working tools would be addressed holistically across the agency’s offices nationwide. “We are getting the zones to become centres of operation of NIMASA activities. In the days ahead we will be giving you greater responsibilities.
NIMASA must take its rightful place in the Federal Government’s plan to make maritime become creator of jobs and main earner of income for government,” he noted.
Earlier, the head of the Yenegoa office, Mr Dennis Monye explained that the peculiar nature of the most of the jetties in the area was making enforcement difficult. He pleaded with the NIMASA Boss to provide a light patrol vessel for the Yenegoa office to enable it reach some jetties where the officials are being denied access for enforcement.
“Some jetty operators do stop our enforcement officials from gaining access to their premises, but if we have a small vessel we can manoeuvre to observe their operations.
There are dredgers working midstream and we can’t get to them. We understand that they are not registered. They do illegal dredging,” he said.
Monye, however added that with the help of the zone’s silicon valley in Port Harcourt, which is able to capture AIS of vessels that could not be physically reached it is able to generate data on the vessels.
To further improve revenue generation, Monye advised that the agency creates Sea Protection Levy (SPL) from oil pipelines of companies, as well as from oil installation platforms.
“Our inspections also include operational areas for signs of marine pollution by wastes,” he noted.
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