Harnessing economic growth through maritime sector
Therefore, Establishment of “Maritime Examination and Certification Board” (MECB) will give more credibility to the COC issue in Nigeria and this board will be responsible for the update on seafarer training, examination and certification in line with the International Convention on standards of Training, and watch keeping for Seafarers, 1978 and the 2010 amendments referred to as the Manila amendments.
This Board, MECB, if created will improve measures to present fraudulent practices associated with certificates of competency and strengthen the evaluation process (Monitoring of parties compliance with the Convention.
The Board will be able to comply with the convention as well as to examine new requirements relating to training in modern technology and the institutions offering this training along with their instructors. Maritime Security: The world has billions of fine people who only desire to feed and house their families with relative security and hold no malice against the rest.
Most of these people do not even consider an attempt to steal something for which another has worked hard to obtain. There are those, however, who feel no remorse for the pain they generate against the innocent.
Ashore, these people equate to the Madoffs, Ghadaffis and Bin Ladens of the world. At sea they are pirates, terrorists, and certain civil threats.
As for the rest of us, we have the choice of defense with strategic and operational mitigation system that are designed to deter, detect or delay maritime offenders.
Defense equates to awareness, cooperation and political will to deal with this incessant act. To be prepared to meet the realities of today’s world, we must recognize that security and vessel defense are a 24 hours per day, seven days per week, 52 weeks per year routine, wherever that vessel or facility happens to be, need to be safed and secured.
The world is focused on the piracy problem in the Somali Basin. It is so much of a problem that the US Navy has warned, “Cross it at your own risk”.
Piracy is, however, a world problem with threats, thefts and deaths scored on the world’s many maritime thoroughfares and facilities. Wilson Churchill, one time Minister of Defence for Great Britain in the 40s opined that “If everybody defends his house, the whole of England would have been defended”.
It boils down to the fact that security is everybody’s business. In order to enhance improved and better Maritime security, the following may be considered amongst others.
Involvement of all stakeholders when designing Maritime Security Policy framework. Quarterly meeting of maritime security committee to review matters on the subject.
Establishment of combined Task Force specifically for counter piracy operations Improving operational and intelligent support to counter piracy operations strengthening judicial frameworks for detention and prosecution of pirates Establishment and maintenance of a Contact Group, if possible at local government level as well as using village heads at the 12 estuaries that enter into the ocean as “Maritime Security Marshalls”.
Establishment of strategic communication among all the stakeholders. Establishment of Bilateral and Regional counter piracy Agreements and arrangements Monitoring and review.
We therefore with all our concerted efforts need to build an institutional capacity, especially legal and regulatory frameworks to provide an adequate, efficient and effective Maritime Security for water in order to have improved, developed and a resourceful Nation by the year 2020 through a developed and efficient Maritime Industry.
Marine Environment: The Country assumed responsibility for pollution issues by being signatory to MARPOL Conventions and Protocols and subsequently has, over many years, adopted a wide range of measures to prevent and control pollution caused by ships and to mitigate the effects of any damage that may occur as a result of Maritime operations and accidents.
These measures have been shown to be successful in reducing ship-sourced pollution and illustrate the commitment of the organization and the shipping industry towards protecting the environment.
Amongst other positive steps that are taken in protecting the Marine Environment is the Port reception facilities available in all the Nation’s Ports for use of vessels calling at our ports. The control of harmful anti-fouling systems on ships (AFS Convention).
Prevention of the potentially devastating effects of the spread of invasive harmful aquatic organisms carried by ships’ ballast water (BWM Convention) required a propose designated water exchange sea areas within port limits for vessels for the control and Management of ships’ Ballast water and sediments (BWM) Convention.
The Safe and environmentally sound recycling of ships (Hong Kong Convention) is at its best and this has generated employment in the few recycling and breaking yards in the country. Marine Litter has been generally defined as man-made object or material floatable in most cases that finds its way in marine environment.
The negative impact of marine litter globally is on the increase, together with its impact on Eco system delivery services of the marine Environment. Little information is available concerning its management especially in the developing world.
In view of this together with estimated high cost of achieving sustainable management in this area UNEP-GPA has come up with the agenda of pushing to UN Assembly for global action to be taken on Marine Litter Management. Nigeria being a signatory to this convention has started taken action accordingly to join hands with other Nations.
London Convention 1972 and Protocol 1996 to mention a few is one of the oldest Conventions of International Maritime Organization targeted at prevention of dumping of waste and other matters in the Marine Environment.
The Convention in its original form prohibited the dumping of any form of waste in the Marine Environment. The 1996 protocol which is an amendment to the convention, however, permitted the dumping of waste “on the reverse list” following the waste assessment guideline.
Nigeria has commenced working on this convention by insurance of dredging and dumping permits to all projects involving dredging and dumping of wastes that will emanate from such projects. However, more need to be done on the marine environment to ensure that the brownish appearance of our waters turn to Sky blue thereby protecting further the Marine life.
Expectation: The Expectation of the maritime and ports stakeholders in Nigeria is to have a vibrant, dynamic, innovative and sophisticated high technology industry capable of achieving the following amongst others: Guaranteeing the well-being and the productivity of the people of those engaging in Maritime activities. Optimizing the key sources of the economic growth in the maritime sector.
Fostering sustainable Social and Economic development in the sector. Develop the ailing Nigerian business in the sector Create jobs for the unemployed youths Establish cadets sea time training as established in the local content.
Organize Maritime retreats and awareness programs for stakeholders and others. Create Maritime security support based on intelligence gathering from neighboring countries and international communities.
Create Maritime trade awareness potential in the west and central African sub regions. Development of National Shipping Lines through PPP modelevelopment of Ship Yards/Dock Yards in Nigeria through BOT model.
Empowering Indigenous Operators based on local content Create opportunities for poverty eradication and wealth creation in the sector prevent incidences of oil theft, pipeline vandalization including illegal oil bunker.
Create opportunities to expand ship building and repairs including ship breaking and recycling yards. Position Nigerian ports to be the Hub for west and central African sub-regions.
Conclusion: In conclusion, in order to achieve safe, secure 1st class shipping services, cleaner oceans and enhanced maritime capacity utilizing cutting-edge expertise whilst impacting positively on Nigerian’s Economy, a lot has to be put in place and the government need to lend support to this industry thereby ensuring a sustainable and growing maritime sector in Nigeria and aspire to be the hub for west and central Africa and beyond thereafter building a sustainable maritime Industry for a better Nigeria. • Concluded • Mr Adewale is a director in NIMASA.