By Anthony Nwachukwu
A new set of measures aimed at forestalling security threats in the country’s maritime domain and deterring intending stowaways who may be exploring means of entry or exit from the country have been put in place by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).
NIMASA stated that under the new protocols, all ship captains are to submit to it the Security-Related Pre-Arrival Information (SRPA) forms not later than 48 hours before the ship’s arrival at any Nigerian port.
They are also required to exchange the Declaration of Security (DoS) with the Port Facility Security Officer (PFSO) of their next port of call not later than 72 hours before the ship’s arrival at that port for conveyance to NIMASA within 48 hours.
More so, all ships are to maintain 24-hour vigilance and surveillance to detect strange movements, including small boats and skiffs that may not be captured by radar.
Other measures include proper pre-departure search and completion of pre-departure form before leaving any port, switching on Automatic Identification Systems (AIS), close monitoring of communication channels and response to any VHF call from the Nigerian Navy or the Regional Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (RMRCC).
According to the NIMASA Director-General, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, the measures are consistent with the strategy of trying to keep one step ahead of the pirates, armed robbers, anyone or anything that poses danger to Nigeria’s maritime domain and the country in general.
“The procedures are easy to follow and deliberate steps have been taken to make the reporting process seamless, all for the good of the ship operators and the international shipping community,” the agency’s Assistant Director, Public Relations, Edward Osagie, cited Jamoh to say.
“They are in keeping with NIMASA’s statutory mandate to provide maritime security and implement special actions to enhance security in line with the ISPS Code Implementation Regulations 2014.”