By Jerry Aguigbo
The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency’s (NIMASA) efforts at securing the Gulf of Guinea is still receiving much applause from international quarters, even as a representative of the Norwegian Ship Owners, Vebjorn Dysvik declared that NIMASA has made impressive progress in securing the GoG region. The Ship Owners were part of a Norwegian delegation which comprised of Maritime experts and consultants in the Maritime industry, led by the country’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Her Excellency Anniken Huitfeldt who visited NIMASA yesterday and were taken round the Agency’s facilities around Lagos.
While speaking, Huitfeldt said the visit was aiming at strengthening bilateral ties between Norway and Nigeria, she thanked NIMASA for raising security awareness in the region and promised that Norwegian Ship Owners will collaborate with NIMASA, while calling for partnership between Nigerian ship owners and Norwegian Ship Owners. In terms of collaboration with Nigeria, the Minister also disclosed that her country has been giving economic assistance to Nigeria through multilevel structures. While thanking NIMASA, Huitfeldt said the delegation was deeply impressed with what they saw today.
Responding, the DG NIMASA, Dr Bashir Jamoh thanked the Norwegian Minister for taking out time to visit NIMASA, he explained some of the enabling laws guiding the Agency’s operations, some of these he said, are to ensure the protection of lives of Seafarers at sea while striving for excellence and professionalism. He also briefed the visiting Minister on the core functions of NIMASA, in terms of deployment and implementation of programmes.
Continuing, Jamoh revealed that over 110,000 vessels visit the Nigerian ports yearly, while also stressing the need for enhanced ship repairs and ship building industry, “there’s a huge demand for the Ship Repairs Industry and we want to ensure we do not continue to go to other countries for our ship repairs. This why NIMASA acquired a N50bn floating Dry-dock (The Hardware) which is expected to generate N1bn monthly for Nigeria, which is another case of inter agency collaboration involving 3 sister government agencies, each with clearly outlined statutory functions.”
Going further, the DG said the agency has made a lot of progress in Maritime security collaborations, ” we are making a lot of progress, in fact, the NIMASA Deep Blue Project involves inter- agency collaboration, cooperation, coordination and communication with security agencies such as the Navy, Air force, Army and the Police. With this we have made a number of arrests. We also collaborate with the Judiciary to understand and update them on Maritime activities,” Jamoh stated.
Norway is the fifth largest shipping nation in the world, with over 1,700 ships operating in the international waters and with 80 ports, it can be described as a huge Maritime nation.