By DAPO OLAWUNI
The Dr. Jamoh-led administration at the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) today, Friday, March 10, 2023 marks it’s three years in office.
Dr Bashir Jamoh, OFR, is the 6th Director General that NIMASA has produced after the likes of ; Mrs Mfon Usoro, Dr Ade Dosunmu, Barrister Temi Omatseye, Patrick Ziakede Akpobolokemi and Dr Dakuku Peterside.
Many of them past Director Generals of NIMASA as mentioned above, came into the agency and learned on the job, without any maritime knowledge or background.
But in the case of Dr Bashir Jamoh, he is a “System Boy” who rose through the ranks at NIMASA.
This is why upon his appointment by President Muhammadu Buhari in Year 2020, stakeholders heaved a sigh of relief and commended his appointment. Three years down the line, Dr Jamoh has not disappointed the Nigerian maritime community in any way.
One of the major take-away of this write up, is that under Dr Jamoh’s administration at NIMASA, Nigeria was able to defeat the hydra-headed monster called PIRACY in the Gulf of Guinea, even as the country has recorded zero attacks on ships in the past one year.
On resumption of office, Dr Jamoh and his team came up with a performance tripod called “Tripple S” that is; Maritime Safety, Maritime Security and Shipping Development. Under these tripod, we shall examine his performance for the past three years.
FIRST PERFORMANCE TRIPOD
MARITIME SECURITY S1:
Security of the Maritime Domain is very critical to the day-to-day operation of the sector. Security helps to boost investors’ confidence; hence, the following key accomplishments under the current dispensation.
1. Signing into law of the SPOMO Act by Mr. President
2. The launch of the Deep Blue Project
3. Significant Reduction in Piracy and Kidnappings
4. Arrests and Successful Prosecution of Criminals
5. Leadership of Regional Maritime Collaboration Forum to tackle Insecurity
6. Nigerias Removal from IMBs Red List
Aim of the Deep Blue Project
The aim of the project is to establish a sustainable architecture for improved maritime safety and security through increased monitoring and compliance enforcement within Nigerias Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), with a view to effectively tackling the challenges of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea.
The Deep Blue Project Assets Breakdown
Classified into 3 (three) with over 254 personnel drawn from Military and paramilitary organizations. These are; Marine, Land and Air Assets.
Special Mission Vessels 2 (DB Abuja and DB Lagos)
Fast Intervention Boats – 17
Special Mission Helicopters 3
Special Mission Aircrafts 2
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs)
Armored Vehicles 17
Facilities – Command, Control, Computer, Communication and Intelligence (C4i) Centre, Training Facilities (Shooting Range, C4i Training Centre etc.). Training; various training for all personnel in the deep blue project on the assets and facilities.
The Inter-Operability of the Deep Blue Assets
Effective implementation of the Deep Blue Project contributing to reduction in the piracy cases with only one piracy case as at May 2022, 6 cases in 2021 from 35 cases in 2020 and in 2019 respectively
Signing of SPOMO Act
Before 2019, Nigeria does not have law, separate law that tries offenders and criminals that are arrested for being involved in piracy and kidnapping.
Therefore, NIMASA came up with the Suppression of Piracy and other Maritime Related Offences (SPOMO) Act which was signed by Mr. President Muhammadu Buhari in June 2019.
As of today NIMASA has secured convictions under this Act. This has also served as a deterrent to would-be criminals.
To further deter these criminalities on the waterways and make Nigerian youths gainfully employed, the Agency established and engaged the Marine Litter Marshals working on the waterways.
SECOND PERFORMANCE TRIPOD
MARITIME SAFETY S2:
The Agency observed that shipping is critical to global trade, yet it is the most vulnerable in terms of safety. This explains the reason the IMO (International Maritime Organization) adopted the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) convention to ensure the safety of those involved.
Consequently, empowered by enabling legislations, NIMASA takes this as a critical aspect of its job to ensure safety of ships and those on board, through proper enforcement of maritime safety conventions.
Wreck Removal Exercise
The Federal Executive Council, at the end of the last quarter of 2021, approved the wreck removals from Badagry axis up to the Tincan Island, this project has gone very far.
Again, in the first quarter of 2022, the Federal Executive Council approved the removal of the entire wrecks also in the other zones of Nigeria, comprising Western zone with headquarters in Lagos, Eastern zone headquarters in Port Harcourt and then central Zone headquarters in Warri. All these projects have achieved major milestones.
Search and Rescue Operations/ Flag and Port State Administration
NIMASA engaged the Nigerian Navy Naval Dockyard in Lagos to repair its operational vessels, Millennia 1 and Millennium 2. Today both vessels and five others are almost ready for deployment for enforcement purposes. This will also enhance it’s search and rescue operation, port and flag state administration amongst others.
In other to attend to the emergencies that may occur after a Search and Rescue Operations, the Agency has built two brand new Search and Base clinic of international standard at Azare Crescent, Apapa and Kirikiri. The agency is hopeful of commissioning it soon. The hospital is not for NIMASA or Nigeria, but original Regional States, as NIMASA is in charge of nine countries in terms of Search and Rescue. The hospital is of high international standard, it is hoped that the facility would treat all calibers of patients locally, and internationally, with the state of arts equipment the facility will possess, when completed.
At the inception of the administration, there was no single vessel for enforcement. Today, the agency has built seven brand new bullet proofs boats and they are expected to have been completed. They are being built in Spain, and it is hoped that before the end of March, NIMASA will receive and commission the vessel.
As soon as the vessels are commissioned, the agency has assured that there will be enhanced enforcement performance; and it plans to divide the use of the vessels; not only in Lagos, but also to other zones of the Agency. All these will cater for the issue of safety.
THIRD PERFORMANCE TRIPOD
SHIPPING DEVELOPMENT S3
The critical aspect of shipping development encompasses fleet expansion, shipbuilding and ship repairs. Shipping is responsible for over 90 percent of international transportation of goods that sustain the global supply chain, which is a significant component of the global economy, enhancing import and exports of goods and services.
NIMASA is poised to advance shipping by ensuring a conducive environment for commercial shipping and encouraging more indigenous participation in the global shipping trade.
Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF)
The CVFF Fund before Dr Jamoh’s appointment into office has become a mirage, many past DG’s tried to disburse the fund, but it was too shrewded in secrecy with a lot of politics and bottlenecks.
However, today, President Muhammadu Buhari has given approval for disbursement of the fund.
Subsequently, Dr Jamoh is holding meetings and consultations with
Primary Lending Institutions (PLI) that were appointed for the disbursement which is likely to take place in second quarter 2023.
Manpower Development/ NSDP/ Training Seafarers
In the area of education, the Agency introduced the Nigerian Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP). The Nigerian NSDP development program is a capacity development programme, initially funded by NIMASA in collaboration with some State Government’s, but currently wholly sponsored by NIMASA.
Under the NSDP, scores of Nigerian youths are sent abroad to the Philippines, Greece, India and Egypt for maritime training. Many of them have graduated today and are gainfully employed as seafarers.
In order to ensure that Nigerian training institutions are not abandoned, the Dr Bashir Jamoh led administration has improved the agency’s interface with the Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN) Oron. The agency’s statutory funding of the Maritime Academy of Nigeria in Oron has been on point since 2020.
MAN Oron aquired state of the art Simulators, among other state of the art facilities, this is because the funding by NIMASA has been unhindered.
This is in addition to other private maritime institutions like Charkins, they are now also coming up with a lot of accreditation of diplomas and other short-term certificates that is done locally, thereby saving foreign exchange.
In addition to this initiative, the Agency created skill acquisition centres across six geopolitical zones. For the South-West we have Lagos, in the South-East we have Anambra, for South-South we have Bayelsa, for North-East, we have Maiduguri, Borno state; for North-West we have Kaduna State for North Central we have Kwara.
All these skill acquisition centers have the capacity of training younger Nigerians on different aspects of professionalism. This is to help trim the number of criminality on the territorial waters. Records therefore shows that from third quarter of 2021 until date, Nigeria has never recorded one single attack on its territorial waters.