JAMOH’S TWO YEARS GIANT STRIDES AT NIMASA
By Mcanthony Onuoha
The change of baton that enthroned Dr. Bashir Jamoh as Director General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency- NIMASA, was not done in error looking at his performance as the Agency’s Boss in the last two years.
The Director General of NIMASA has not only shown capacity but has skillfully provided leadership, pointing the agency in the right direction. Within the period under review, Jamoh has performed pretty well and deserves commendation.
Measures to address Maritime Insecurity in Nigeria and the Gulf of Guinea began with the passage of the Suspension of Piracy and other Maritime Offences Bill, and the DG, knowing where the challenges lie has not relented in his efforts to entrench tranquility and safety along Nigerian waterways and the Gulf of Guinea.
It will interest you to know that the DG assumed office on the 10th of March, 2020, and that was exactly at a time the Country was already battling the (COVID -19) Pandemic. Before his appointment as DG, the agency under Dr. Dakuku Peterside was already setting commendable records ; in the last four years, the agency had embarked on Port State Inspection (PSI) at various times.
THE DG OF NIMASA, DR.BASHIR JAMOH, ADDRESSING NEWSMEN AT THE AGENCY’S HEADQUARTERS IN LAGOS, RECENTLY.
The Agency carried out 525 Port State Inspection in 2017, and in 2018, 659 inspections were carried out, amounting to 35% increase. 2019 recorded 725 inspection, amounting to 10% increase against that of the previous year, and in 2020, 510 PSI was recorded indicating a decrease which probably was as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
A 10% improvement was recorded in 2019 from that of the preceding years as the agency carried out a total Port State Inspection(PSI) of 726 vessels out of the 5,035 vessel calls, this amounted to 14.42% of the total ship call. However, it is a shortfall of 15% requirement under International Maritime Organization (IMO) by 0.8% of which the agency assured it was working hard to surpass.
Meanwhile, total Port State Inspection in 2020 was 510 of 4,728 vessel calls. The decrease was because of the Covid-19 lockdown which in no doubt impacted negatively on the Port State Inspections).
In 2019, the Agency performed a total of 2,580 flag state Inspections representing 2,123 renewal inspections, 276 condition survey and 181 Random Flag State Surveys. This showed a 49% increase from the 1,737 Total Flag State Inspections carried out in 2018 comprising 1,241 Flag State Renewal Inspections.
Following the 21 marine incidents recorded in 2018 and 22 in 2019, the agency carried out investigations, even as at this point, some are still on-going; the agency in its efforts to mitigate the tide of maritime insecurity in Nigeria and the Gulf of Guinea via various maritime domain awareness, interventions and collaborative efforts.
However, Passage of the Suspension of Piracy and other Maritime Offences Bill, Establishment of integrated national maritime surveillance and security infrastructure as well as International Ship and Port Facility (Code), are commendable efforts of the agency in addressing maritime insecurity in Nigeria and the Gulf of Guinea. Besides, the implementation of Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code has consistently impacted on the level of security in the nation’s port areas and facilities. Other notable achievements of the Agency in its quest for lasting maritime security are Resuscitation of the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) Equipment as well as the Regional Maritime Awareness Capacity (RMAC) Center. Nevertheless, the agency is presently engaging international stakeholders, including BIMCO,INTERTANKO, INTERCARGO, International Chambers of Shipping (ICS) and Oil Companies International Maritime Forum-OCIMF, under the auspices of NIMASA/Industry Maritime Security (NIWG)to establish coordinated response to piracy attacks. Furthermore, the agency has spearheaded the institutionalization of collaboration between her and other agencies for improved maritime safety and security as well as efficient port operations.
Indeed, NIMASA under Jamoh has recorded milestones in Human Capacity Development, the agency has continued to make her Statutory financial contribution to Maritime Academy, Oron and Nigerian Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP).
Currently, the Agency has trained over 2600 Nigerian Seafarers in various credible Maritime institutions in UK, Egypt, Philippines, Malaysia, etc, as it secured the placement of over 400 cadets onboard ships for the mandatory SEA-TIME training to make them globally competitive and employable.
However, NIMASA also sent some of its staff on long term training abroad to build internal capacities in various aspects of the Maritime industry at the prestigious World Maritime University.
To reduce the cost of ship repairs and maintenance, the agency procured the 5th largest modular floating dockyard in Africa . This milestone achievement, the agency said, came under a unique Fund Known as the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund(CVFF), set aside to provide financial assistance to Nigerian Operators in domestic coastal shipping to own vessels and enhance their competitiveness.
Other achievements of Jamoh’s two years administration include continued engagement of MDAs for the entrenchment of appropriate Fiscal and Monetary Policy Initiatives to pave way for competitive participation of indigenous operators in shipping activities in Nigeria. These, according to the agency, include but not limited to: A push for the change in terms of trade from FOB to CIF for affreightment of crude oil(NNPC); Single digit interest rate for the maritime sector(CBN/NEXIM BANK/AFRIEXIM) ; Concessional foreign exchange rate for ship acquisition (CBN); Engagement with state government to buy into cargo support initiative aimed at creating cargo pool for affreightment by indigenous operators.
However, the agency initiated Aggressive repositioning of the Nigerian Ship Registration Office (NSRO) to enable Ship Tonnage Growth and Remodeling and commissioning of NIMASA Knowledge Center E-Library. The facility is open to staff, students/researchers and external stakeholders/maritime operators, to increase the knowledge base of the Nigerian Maritime Sector.
Jamoh and his team recognized from the outset the significant impact of the Corona Virus (COVID-19) Pandemic on the Transport Sector in particular and the Global socio-economic activities in general, and decided to set up a multi-disciplinary Committee within the Agency to provide an informed risk assessment with appropriate responses. And to ensure seamless flow of trade, the agency declared Seafarers as KEY WORKERS to facilitate vital crew changes and excuse duty. Nigeria was among the first Maritime nations to declare such and was commended by the IMO.
Meanwhile, the agency made series of donations to Federal and State governments as part of her Corporate Social Responsibility, the donations include Cash donation to the Federal Government Committee on COVID-19 intervention, cash donation to the Lagos State COVID-19 Intervention Task Force, and human capital support in the following areas: Medical Personnel, Drivers, Logistics officers as well as deployment of the Agency’s Fire brigade trucks to fumigate Apapa and its environs.
Still on Logistics Support in the fight against COVID-19, the Agency donated 36 -Seater Coaster Bus, 16- Seater Coaster Bus, Ambulance, Fast intervention Marine Vessels and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). The busses were distributed thus: Lagos 5, Rivers 4, Delta 3,Cross River 3,Kaduna 2, and Abuja 3.
As part of her Corporate Social Responsibility for food victims and IDP Camps, the Agency presented relief items to victims of flood disaster across the nation as well as to internally displaced persons as a result of insurgency. 20 States were reached across the 6 geo-political zones.
It is noteworthy that the Agency’s efforts in the fight against piracy in the Gulf of Guinea Region was commended by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), in December,2020. And recently, the apex maritime organization gave institutional backing to NIMASA’s Marine Litter Action Plan.
However, on Maritime Safety Flag State Implementation (FSO), it is recorded that the total number of Condition Surveys for Flag Registration conducted in 2020 was 276, while that of 2021 was 489.
On Examination and Certification, a total number of 829 officers sat for the Agency’s examination in 2021, and while 269 candidates passed, forming 32%, 565 candidates failed which amounted 68%.
Meanwhile, total number of certificate revalidated in 2021 was 246.
In 2020, 610 examination were conducted, while 251candidates passed and certified, forming 41%, 359 candidates failed, forming 59%, as 132 certificates were revalidated.
To reduce forgery of Nigerian certificates and enhance the employment of Nigerian Seafarers in the maritime sector, Online Seafarers Certificate of Competency (CoC) Verification Platform was reactivated, and without doubt, the project has really yielded positive results.
The Deep Blue Project was flagged off by His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday,21st May, 2021, and since then, the Agency has taken delivery of key assets of the Deep Blue Project which include two Special Mission Vessels (SMVs), seventeen Fast Interceptor Boats (FBIs),two unmanned Air Vehicles (UAVs) and sixteen Amoured Vehicles, some of which have been deployed to the Nigerian Navy for its operational use.
However, a total number of currently operational onshore facilities in the ISPS unit is Ninety-eight(98),divided into six maritime zones.
Indeed, Jamoh and his team has preformed pretty well, touching almost every department in the sector as his administration is set to accomplish even more in 2022. Strengthening of maritime safety and security enforcement mechanism; engagement of Stakeholders towards harnessing the potentials of a blue economy, and enhancement of revenue for increased contribution to the consolidation revenue fund and movement of the Agency’s Headquarters to its newly acquired building in Victoria Island, as well as operationalization of the floating dock are part of the Agency’s top priority in 2020, not excluding the establishment of regional maritime safety and security training center, building of regional maritime search and rescue clinic as well as resuscitation of Lokoja office, and many more.
Dr. Bashir Jamoh has really written his name in gold having achieved a whole lot within a period of two years. These jawdropping accomplishments set him aside as one of the best hands that have occupied the Agency’s highest office.