By DAPO OLAWUNI
The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has said that it would descend on all unapproved ship scrapping yards scattered along the maritime corridor from Navy town to the Harbor in Apapa Lagos.
The Director General of NIMASA, Dr Bashir Jamoh stated this when the Flag Officer Commanding (FOC) Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral Oladele Bamidele Daji led a team of senior officers from the command on a working visit to NIMASA.
The NIMASA DG noted that activities of unapproved ship scrapping yards are a source of concern to the agency, vowing that all identified wrecks will be removed working with the hydrography department of the Nigerian Navy.
The NIMASA DG also warned that those involved in these nefarious acts of ship scrapping would be made to face the full wrath of the law if they fail to desist from indiscriminate scrapping of vessels and the likes.
“We are aware of the challenges wrecks, derelicts and activities of illegal scrap yards pose to our waterways. We will share information with the hydrography department of the Nigerian Navy, so appropriate steps which will be in the best interest of the country will be implemented”, he said.
Meanwhile, NIMASA and the Nigerian Navy are set for a regime of improved information sharing as arrangements to integrate the Command, Control, Computer Communication and Information Centre, otherwise known as the C4i Centre of the Deep Blue Project along with the Falcon Eye of the Nigerian Navy are ongoing.
Dr Jamoh, while stating the importance of cooperation between the Navy and NIMASA said that both agencies have mandates that are interwoven adding that since NIMASA is not an arm bearing organization it was important for it to support the Navy with necessary platforms for it to be able to optimally safeguard Nigerian Waters.
According to Jamoh, “Just like we did by ensuring that our Special Mission Vessels are manned by men of the Nigerian Navy, we are also looking at the possibility of effectively linking the C4i center at kikiriki with the Falcon Eye of the Nigerian Navy. This is to ensure safety of lives and property for safer shipping in the Nigerian maritime domain so that the maritime industry remains virile for economic prosperity”
Dr. Jamoh also disclosed that the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System, GMDSS, facility at Takwa Bay will become functional very soon and the facility will also enhance intelligence gathering and information sharing with the Nigerian Navy, which has also approved the establishment of a Naval formation at Takwa Bay.
On his part, the FOC Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral Daji applauded the already existing relationship between the Agency and the Nigerian Navy and stated the need for continuous information sharing between the Navy and NIMASA in order to aid daily operations towards ensuring a safer and secured maritime sector.
He also corroborated the stance of the DG on zero tolerance for piracy on the nation’s waterways, stating that the Navy is prepared to tackle the issues head-on, for the overall good of the maritime sector.
Rear Admiral Daji appealed for cooperation with the NIMASA hydrography unit especially with regards to standard charting of the Nigerian waters as well as mapping out the wrecks. He said this would go a long way in ensuring unhindered navigation.
It may be recalled that at the inception of this administration, the DG, Dr. Jamoh and his Management team introduced a three point agenda hinged on Maritime Safety, Security and Shipping Development to achieve the mandates of NIMASA towards sustaining a robust maritime sector.