…Holds regional workshop to tackle biofouling
Determined to reduce its carbon footprint in the nation’s marine environment, Nigeria is presently building the capacity to tackle the amount of greenhouse emissions resulting from the presence of biofouling substances in the marine domain.
To achieve this, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has organised a three-day regional workshop on test biofouling in conjunction with the Maritime Technology Cooperation Centre for Africa (MTCC Africa) with the theme, ‘The Place of Technologies in the Management of Marine Biofouling’.
Declaring the workshop open on Monday in Lagos, Bashir Jamoh, director general of NIMASA, explained that studies revealed that ships serve as a channel for transporting non-indigenous Invasive Aquatic Species, which are organisms that attach themselves to the outer surface of a ship, and are transported from one region to another.
“The process by which these organisms attached themselves to the ship is referred to as Biofouling. They have the ability to outcompete the native ones, thereby threatening their existence, biodiversity and national food security resulting in huge social and economic impact. Nigeria’s economy relies heavily on international trade, and this exposes it to threats of invasive species being transferred into her territorial waters,” he said.
He said biofouling increases the hydrodynamic drag of ships which results in increased fuel consumption, speed reduction and maneuverability, leading to increased greenhouse gas emissions.
“To prevent the menace of biofouling in our waters, Nigeria has adopted the IMO guideline for the Control and Management of Ship’s Biofouling which is an international instrument aimed at maintaining the efficiency, safety and environmental sustainability of our maritime operations as well as prevent the spread of invasive species in our waters,” he added.
Earlier in her brief, Oma Ofodilie, deputy director of the Marine Environment Management Department at NIMASA and MTCC Africa Focal Point, said MTCC has been engaging aggressively to ensure that emission is reduced in the maritime sector.
According to her, reducing greenhouse emission is of great concern to the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), which is why they are not only looking at emission from ships alone but has diversified into other issues.
“Befouling is one of the issues that need to be tackled in the maritime environment because it reduces the energy efficiency of vessels and results in the emission of greenhouse gasses into the environment.
“The capacity-building workshop will go a long way to ensure that Nigeria gets sufficient capacity to reduce the carbon footprint of its marine environment and ensure that the country is not left behind in meeting IMO’s net zero target by 2050,” Ofodilie said.
Lydia Ngugi, head of MTCC Africa, told newsmen that the Centre is a representative of IMO in Africa and is saddled with the mandate of building capacity for climate change mitigation in the maritime industry in Africa.
According to her, the technical workshop is held in conjunction with partnering countries like Nigeria with representatives from Somalia and Comoros.
She disclosed that IMO has biofouling guidelines aimed at ensuring sustainable development in the shipping industry, which is linked to the United Nations Development Goals.
Joining online from London, Jose Matheickal, director and head of the Department of Partnerships and Projects at IMO, said biofouling contributes to greenhouse emissions, which was why the capacity building workshop is aimed at cutting it down to a significant amount.
He said it has a gender component and encouraged more women to participate in the workshop that aims at using technological solutions to cut down the amount of biofouling on the ocean.
He added that the event will provide a platform for participants to share knowledge that will result in building a sustainable maritime economy.