Adegboyega Oyetola, minister of Marine and Blue Economy, has tasked maritime nations in the West and Central African region on the need to comply with the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) convention that requires inspection of at least 15 percent of vessels calling their ports.
He also charged member states on the need to achieve full ratification and domestication of all relevant instruments.
Speaking in Abidjan at the 13th Port State Control Committee Meeting of the Abuja Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control for West and Central African Region (Abuja MoU), Oyetola who doubles as the vice chairman of the Abuja MOU, said there is a need for member states to ensure their maritime domains remain safe, secure, and environmentally friendly.
On his part, Bashir Jamoh, director general of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), said the maritime administration in Nigeria is committed to the effective implementation of regulatory instruments in Nigeria.
Other areas identified are the imperative of recruitment and subsequent training of the Port State Control officers to avoid overburdening of the few officers in the field; and the need for nations to collaborate and ensure that no substandard vessel is allowed to trade within the region.
Speaking at the session, Jamoh said NIMASA as Nigeria’s maritime administration has ensured the ratification of not less than six international maritime conventions for proper governance of the country’s maritime space.
These ratified conventions spell out the proper mode of governance for various areas such as standards of training, certification and Watchkeeping for the fishing sector, pollution management, and carriage of passenger luggage by sea.
Nigeria has ratified the Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships 2009; the International Convention on Standard of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Fishing Vessel Personnel (STCW –F) 1995; and Protocol Relating to Intervention on the High Seas in Cases of Oil Pollution Casualties (Intervention Protocol)1973.
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Others include the Protocol on Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims (LLMC) 1996; Protocol to the 1974 Athens Convention relating to the Carriage of Passengers and their Luggage by Sea 2002; and Protocol of 2005 to the 1988 Protocol for the Suppression of Unlawful Act against the Safety of Fixed Platforms located on the Continental Shelf (SUA PROT 2005).
Sunday Umoren, secretary general of Abuja MoU, said there would be continuous engagement sessions to ensure regional collaboration that would enable member states to attain globally acceptable Port State Control in the West and Central Africa Region.
The performance of member states on Port State Control inspections, and financial status among others formed a major part of the deliberations at the meeting.