- Enforces regulations on marine environment protection
By Anthony Nwachukwu
For safety and security of ships, as well as business facilitation, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) said it has embedded quick response codes (QR Codes) in its new Ship Registry Certificates to enable ship owners, stakeholders and regulatory enforcement officers verify the validity of the certificates.
It has also commenced the enforcement of full compliance with the marine environment protection statutory requirements and documentation on local and foreign-flagged vessels operating within the nation’s maritime domain.
This is pursuant to the agency’s statutory mandate to implement all provisions on marine environment protection and documentation as enshrined in the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL), 1973, the Merchant Shipping Act, 2007, and the NIMASA Act 2007.
To this end, all ship owners and operators are now required by law to update their vessel documentations, including all permits or exemptions, levies, record books and plan approvals.
Being a pre-condition for further processing of any vessel or company requests, NIMASA said it would sanction operators who do not comply with the relevant requirements.
According to NIMASA Director-General, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, effective application of environmental protection regulations in the maritime domain is crucial to Nigeria’s quest for economic development.
He stated the agency’s interest in bringing relevant stakeholders on board to facilitate a sound and seamless certification and marine environment protection regime.
“We are deliberate, methodical and strategic in the enforcement of the environmental protection requirements as they relate to our own laws and international regulations that we accede to,” NIMASA Assistant Director, Public Relations, Osagie Edward, quoted Jamoh to say.
“A well protected marine environment guarantees investors’ confidence, which is a basic necessity for the maximisation and optimisation of our rich maritime endowments. This touches directly on the country’s economic diversification and sustainable development drive.”
He added: “We are enthroning a sound and sustainable marine environment protection system that serves the interests of both the country and the operators, and necessary steps have been taken to ensure we have stakeholders on the same page.”
Meanwhile, Jamoh noted that for the electronic verification of certificates, the agency “has adopted technology to guarantee more security for our documents and give stakeholders and the international shipping community greater confidence in our services.”
Also, the Registrar of Ships, Mrs. Nneka Obiayor, disclosed that “safety and security of ships as well as ease of doing business are the uppermost priority in the design and implementation of the electronic verification of our newly-introduced Ship Registry Certificates.
“With a blend of technology and creativity, we have introduced new features intended to make our ship registration certificates more secure and easier to process.”