• Saturday, July 20, 2024
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FG mulls emergency approach to meet US maritime security ultimatum

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Forty-five days to the expiration of the 90 days ultimatum given to the Nigerian government to boost security at her maritime domain by the United Nations Coast Guard, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) will soon commence the installation of black flags at Nigerian ports that are not International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) code compliant.

Also, the agency will further install Nigerian flags and the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) flags in ports that are ISPS code compliant.

ISPS code, which Nigeria domesticated in 2005 as a maritime member state, is a standard international framework through which contracting government agencies; port and ship facilities can cooperate and be assessed in the global maritime community, to detect security threats in the maritime domain.

Speaking in Lagos on Monday at the general stakeholders’ conference on ‘Reviving ISPS Code Implementation in Nigeria’, Leke Oyewole, senior special assistant to the president on maritime matters, said that the mandate to implement ISPS code has been designated on NIMASA after the Presidential Implementation Committee on Maritime Safety and Security (PICOMSS) was dissolved by the Federal Government few months back.

“This is an important mission that must be accomplished, because if we fail to comply, US will ban ships that visit Nigerian ports from calling their ports. This will lead to a situation where, few ships will be calling Nigerian ports, and as a result lead to high cost of freight”, Oyewole said.

On the other hand, Oyewole mandated Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to automate port access control so as to reduce the human interface in the port, which will in turn reduce corruption in the port.

Also speaking, Patrick Akpobolokemi, director general of NIMASA, assured that the agency will vigorously pursue ISPS code implementation by raising the security standards of all port facilities in the country and ships that bears Nigerian flags.