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NPA vows to fully enforce IMO Sulphur Regulation on Nigerian waterways

The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has set plans in motion by signing a directive with strict timelines to ensure full compliance with and enforcement of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Sulphur Regulation on Nigerian waterways.

Hadiza Bala Usman, managing director of the NPA, who disclosed this at the just concluded Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) ‘Decade of Gas Conference,’ said the authority has taken steps towards the procurement of tools to enhance its capacity for Sulphur analysis as well as put in place a sanction regime for vessels that contravene Sulphur regulations.

According to her, NPA would ensures that all vessels sailing on Nigerian waters satisfy the requirements of the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) and the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) Conventions, which already include compliance with chemical and gas carrier codes.

“With the expansion of opportunities in the gas related investments and projects, we must strive to provide the enabling environment for productive operations, with international best practices in mind. Also, compliance is crucial to the handling of dangerous and hazardous good and products like gas. As a result, NPA has strategically primed most of the reform initiatives to align with the impacts of global energy transition,” she explained.

She said the NPA has also set the groundwork for safe deployment of Offshore Support Vessels (OSVs) to facilitate movement of gas especially in bulk as the NLNG does.

The new regulations, known as IMO Sulphur Regulations 2020, mandates a maximum Sulphur content of 0.5 percent in marine fuels globally. This is due to the need to reduce the air pollution created in the shipping industry by reducing the Sulphur content of fuels used by ships.

Usman further said that in addition to granting approval for continuous capacity building training for MARPOL compliance inspectors in all port locations, the NPA has also charged the Port Environment Officers to sensitise and cascade knowledge gained from the trainings to relevant stakeholders.

“We are also deliberate about the improvement of equipment and building capacity of personnel handling NPA’s core navigational and towage responsibilities,” she said.

As Vice-chair of the FAL committee of IMO, Usman promised to ensure tracking of global policy shift and providing the enabling atmosphere for their domestication.

She however disclosed that NPA aligns with the global discourse that the reduction in the use of heavy hydrocarbons and increase in the use of LNG in maritime transport, helps to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and other pollution arising from international trade.

“Our commitment to building a sustainable shipping future cannot be devoid of the huge opportunities in reducing airborne pollution, carbon emissions, which renewal energy technologies such as shipyards and energy parks, offers. We are therefore, at the forefront of studies to unlock these possibilities,” she assured.

This, according to the NPA boss, is evident in the recent introduction of an electronic truck call-up system at the Lagos ports, which shows determination to automate and employ technological innovation in all areas of operation.

She however assured that NPA is poised to embrace partnerships, support policies and actions aimed at optimising the gains of over 100 trillion cubic feet of natural gas endowment on Nigeria’s economy.

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