Maritime Agency restates commitment to improved services

Hauwa Mustapha, Abuja

Dakuku Peterside

Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), has assured stakeholders in its Eastern Zonal Operations that the era of being tossed between the Zonal Office and the Head Office is over as the Agency has concluded plans to restructure its operations for optimal performance.

The Director General of NIMASA, Dr Dakuku Peterside stated this in Port Harcourt while addressing issues of stakeholders during his work visit to the operational offices of the agency.

Dr. Peterside said the new structure is expected to grant the Zonal Offices greater autonomy to initiate process and conclude critical transactions like ship registration, sailing clearance and other associated operations in the Zones without recourse to the Head Office.

He explained that the Agency is being restructured, repositioned and reorganised for greater productivity and efficiency.

Dr Peterside also noted that the reform is expected to give the Zonal offices more powers to execute the mandate of the Agency effectively and eliminate the bottlenecks currently associated with the processes.

According to him, “the stakeholders need not worry about bureaucratic bottlenecks in the operations of the Agency as all of these are being taken care of”.

“Most of our operations now are going to reside in the zones. And you don’t need to come to Lagos now for anything at all. Apart from the fact that we are devolving more powers to the Zones, we are automating all our processes. You don’t need the Head Office, you don’t need anybody once we conclude the automation of our processes” the DG said.
“If you want to register a Cabotage vessel, you simply go online, provide all the documents you need, make your payment online and of course you get it in an interim certificate or a provisional certificate”.

He added that with your provisional certificate, after sometime you can walk into any NIMASA Zonal Office and get your original certificate.

“That’s our dream for NIMASA and by the special grace of God after one month, we hope that that process will be in place” Dr. Peterside assured.

The DG also promised the stakeholders that the automation process will be holistic, adding that things like distribution of books and certificates of competency can be verified online once the system is up and running.

While acknowledging the initial challenges with printing Discharge Books which the he noted are akin to the international passport because of their security features.

Dr. Peterside mentioned that some problems have now been overcome both at the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) and the Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Company (NSPMC).

He therefore reassured stakeholders that the difficulty associated with getting the document will be a thing of the past in another one month.

Sea time training

On the issue of sea time training for Nigerian cadets, Dr. Peterside noted that the Agency is committed to growing human capacity in the industry and has already devised a number of initiatives where the cadets of the Nigerian Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP) will get sea time experience to enable them get gainful employment.

Dr. Peterside stated that there is a new spirit in NIMASA that is determined to return the Agency to the performance of its core mandate.

He also observed that the new Management of the Agency is conversant with the fact that the Nigerian maritime industry cannot get the required development if NIMASA does not get its act together.

The present engagement with the stakeholders was described as the high points of the Executive Management’s visit to the Eastern Zonal operations of the Agency.

Maritime Regulation
In another development, the maritime industry has been described as a data driven one which requires access to adequate information for its effective regulation and the implementation of relevant instruments.

Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Dr. Dakuku Peterside stated this while rounding off the Management’s tour operations and facilities of the Agency in Port Harcourt.

Dr. Peterside who commended the Coordinator and staff of the Eastern Zonal Operations for maintaining a good data profile also noted that the Agency is committed to accessing the most relevant data for the effective implementation and enforcement of its mandate.

He said that the Agency has upgraded its subscription of the Lloyds List Intelligence to a full bouquet which is beyond the previous capacity of the Sea Searcher and that this will guarantee unfettered access to the most current data in the industry.

According to him, “this industry we are regulating is a data driven industry. You can see that we are working very hard every day to improve the volume and value of the data at our disposal. We used to have Lloyds List Intelligence which was restricted to Sea Searcher but now we have upgraded our subscription to a full bouquet of all the data and statistics that is available at Lloyds. Right now we do not only have access to wet cargo data and dry cargo data but the historical analysis is also available to us”.

Dr. Peterside noted that there are other benefits that the Agency and indeed the Nigerian maritime industry will benefit from the upgrade of the Lloyds subscription.

The DG also said that the Agency has increased the number of personnel with access to information emanating from the maritime domain awareness assets of the Agency, particularly the Satellite Surveillance Facility.

“And so in terms of data, in the days ahead it is obvious that our people will have access to so much data that no operator or operative in the industry will be able to short change NIMASA in our regulatory and enforcement drive” Dr. Peterside affirmed.

While noting that the Eastern Zonal operating area of the Agency seems to be the hotbed of piracy and other related crimes at sea, the DG said that the acquisition and deployment of operational vessels coupled with the Lloyds List Intelligence, the Agency’s Satellite Surveillance system and the collaboration with the Nigerian Navy, the successes already achieved in tackling the menace will be consolidated to eliminate criminality in Nigerian waters.

NIMASA DG, also said that with access to data and the availability of operating platforms, the Agency will henceforth place more emphasis on the enforcement of its mandate on off shore platforms including Floating Production, Storage and Offloading facilities (FPSOs), rigs and a network of pipelines.

Dr. Peterside reiterated Management’s commitment to staff welfare and the provision of a conducive working environment noting that the human resources are the Agency’s greatest assets.

The DG was accompanied on the tour of the facilities and operations of the Eastern Zone by the Executive Director Operations, Engr. Rotimi Fashakin, Executive Director Maritime Labour and Cabotage Services, Mr. Ahmed Gambo as well as some top Management staff of the Agency.