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NIMASA not Funding Military Operations in Niger Delta

by on October 3, 2016
 
Allegation that the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NI­MASA) is broke because it is funding military operations in the Niger Delta is mischievous and uncharitable to the Federal Govern­ment, the agency has said.
Reacting to reports that the NI­MASA Director-General, Dr. Da­kuku Peterside, was draining the agency’s purse to fund the mili­tary’s Operation Crocodile Smile, the Head of Corporate Commu­nications, Lami Tumaka, said the agency is “law abiding.”
According to Tumaka, NIMA­SA is focused on its “core mandate of promoting indigenous participa­tion in coastal and inland trade, and effectively regulating the maritime industry in Nigeria.
“For the records, the laws gov­erning the agency’s operations are clear and we are committed to im­plementing them to the letter. You can therefore rest in the assurance that NIMASA is not funding this operation.”
However, sources claim that on the contrary, the agency has faltered in meeting its core mandates due to lack of funds, and has instead re­laxed the enforcement of some of its laws so as to retain the few vessels that now ply the nation’s waterways to boost its fast depleting resources.
Equally, Peterside has persis­tently lamented that the agency is broke, lacks service boats and oth­er critical operational tools.
Nevertheless, sources alleged that Peterside made the agen­cy a major financier of Operation Crocodile Smile even while it lacks equipment for effective operations, including adequate service boats for effective enforcement of the Cabo­tage Act and conduct of requisite Port State Control (PSC) inspec­tions on in-bound vessels.
It was further disclosed that NIMASA has run shortage of plat­forms (patrolling vessels) since the Federal Government suspended the agency’s contract with Glob­al West Vessels Specialists Limited.
The firm, owned by Govern­ment Ekpemupolo (alias Tompo­lo), was contracted by the former administration to provide inspec­tion boats under a public private partnership arrangement. In its place, Peterside had said that NI­MASA planned to lease boats from other firms to facilitate its opera­tions.
Though this is yet to mate­rialise, sources said that Nigeri­an vessels and seafarers are be­ing denied the right to the nation’s coastal trade contrary to the Coast­al and Inland Shipping Act (Cab­otage Act), which was enacted in 2003 to restrict the use of foreign vessels and expatriate seafarers in the nation’s domestic coastal trade.
Also, the lack of operation­al vessels is hampering the agen­cy’s effective implementation of PSC, which has led to undesirable consequences from unregulated shipping operations in the Nige­rian waters.
The PSC is an internationally agreed inspection of foreign ships in nations’ ports by PSC inspec­tors on compliance with the In­ternational Maritime Organisa­tion (IMO) conventions.
These include Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), International Con­vention for the Prevention of Pol­lution from Ships (MARPOL), Standards of Training, Certifica­tion and Watchkeeping for Sea­farers (STCW), and the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC).

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