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Nigeria to protect environment from ballast water

By Adaku Onyenucheya
23 September 2021   |   2:55 am
The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has said the country is taking proactive steps to address exposure to the threat of ballast water

A ship pumping ballast water into the sea

The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has said the country is taking proactive steps to address exposure to the threat of ballast water because of the high tanker traffic in its waters.

The agency’s Director-General, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, stated this in Lagos at the 10th meeting of the National Taskforce (NTF) on implementation of Ballast Water Management (BWM) Convention, 2004.

Jamoh said, being an oil-producing country, Nigeria was prone to the effects of harmful aquatic organisms transported across regions by tankers.

The Director-General, who was represented by the Director, Marine Accident Investigation Unit, Mrs Rita Egbuche, said: “All ships, especially tankers, carry ballast water while on a voyage to maintain stability and operate effectively and safely. But ballast water has also been identified as one of the major vectors for the introduction of invasive alien species in the marine environment.

He said NIMASA, the lead agency for the implementation of international conventions, codes, and regulations of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), had in conjunction with other members of the NTF set up a plan for the full implementation of the BWM Convention in the country.

“As an oil-producing country, we recognise the country’s susceptibility to the danger of ballast water and we have put processes and actions in place to deal with the threat in line with the resolutions of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO). We would continue to update and fine-tune our strategies as new developments emerge” he stated.

Jamoh said activities on the roadmap for Nigeria’s full implementation of the BWM convention include: development of ballast sediment reception facilities; establishment of globally recognised and integrated BWM testing laboratory; development of regulations and guidelines for ship-owners; and authorisation of Classification Societies and formalisation of agreement with NIMASA on safety and prevention of pollutions survey and certification.

He said there are also plans to designate Ballast Water Management Exchange Areas in Nigerian waters, and organise sensitisation programmes on BWM for stakeholders on the provisions of the regulations, as well as enforcement and compliance.