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IMO And Efforts To Minimise Marine Accident

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Statistical records have revealed that there is a high rise in accidents on board ships, in spite of efforts to control such accidents, and that majority of the accidents are caused by human errors on board.

Security, safety of lives and efficient shipping operations in our waters have been the cardinal objectives of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), and the apex world maritime body for a long time kept on improving ship construction and equipment standard by continuously amending the Safety of Lives at Sea (SOLAS) convention.

Invariably, stakeholders in the maritime industry have their various role to play in complementing the various efforts of IMO towards SOLAS initiative actualisation and this also implies that various segments and operators in the industry should be committed to making their own input, to the success of SOLAS.

The Continuous rise in accident occurrence amidst the SOLAS amendments demanded comprehensive casualty investigation, so as to find the underlying causes of accidents. A careful analysis of casualty investigation reports revealed that about 80% of accident on board were caused by human error.

Inspite of the wide acceptance of the conventions, the shipping industry, media and various governments were expressing growing dissatisfaction as to its effectiveness. The best way to deal with human error was to comprehensively amend the SOLAS convention, to bring about diversion of focus and this gave birth to the Standard of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW).

The implementation of STCW was meant to improve seafarers competence, which raised the anticipation that those safety standards would remarkably improve.

Also, implementation and enforcement of the amended convention is an opportunity to raise the standard of the world’s seafarers, improve safety, and reduce accidents and pollution.

However, the question is; why do human error accidents on board ships still take place? The occurrence of such accidents have therefore brought about mixed feelings as to the effectiveness of the STCW convention and the role of stakeholders in implementing the standards.

The maritime administrations are responsible for ensuring compliance with the implementation of the convention and the ISM Code by approving related education and training, ensuring that the duties, task and responsibilities of seafarers conform to the certificate issued. They are expected to ensure that quality standards of seafarers competence are continuously monitored, certified, endorsed and revalidated, as well as accrediting maritime academies and institutions.

In the final analysis, they must submit progress reports to IMO, concerning the implementation of the convention in their respective countries.

Training institutions as it were, play crucial role in developing seafarers competence. The scope of training provided are not limited to the convention, but are expected to exceed those set by IMO, as they will take into consideration the national challenges.

To fulfill the need of international shipping, they are to provide quality seafarers, develop and train staff in maritime education as in-line with IMO models courses, and global maritime standards. They are expected to use standards of competence tables of the Standard of Training, Certification and Watch Keeping (STCW), in setting the time table for training.

They are to focus on a competence based training system where hands on training and the development of basic skills through the use of simulators, labouratory training equipment and other practical training aids are provided.

In a nutshell, they provide academic walls by ensuring a complete utilization of necessary educational equipment and updates.

On their own part shipping companies are expected to compensate for laxity in enforcement of convention provisions by the administration and implementation of rules according to the ISM Code and the necessary standard regarding emergencies and report procedures between shipboard and company.

They are to contribute to the training of company personnel and seafarers sea service by monitoring the implementation of procedures for changing crews to ensure that sufficient time is allowed for those new to the ship to have adequate opportunity to familiarise themselves with the ship, its appliances and equipment relevant to their assigned duties, thereby providing the enabling environment to allow seafarers effectively practice the seafaring profession.

As part of competence demonstration, seafarers role under STCW has to do with acquiring and demonstrating competence, while on board, keeping pace with progress by ensuring that their knowledge is up to date in the areas relevant to their duties and responsibilities on board.

On recognition and endorsement, they are to obtain and keep up to date, any recognition endorsement that may be required and serving as authorized holder of competency certificate onboard ship of the administrations concerned.

However, the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) in order to keep track with the implementation of the convention and other instruments relevant to ships safety, is expected to lay emphasis on human element matters with other member states, as well as encourage technical cooperation between her member states and other organization to give effect to the convention, recognise advice and assistance provided by experts with knowledge of maritime resources and for training.

From reports, a major problem with the convention is proper implementation, as the human error factors have continuously surfaced. A summary of the annual report of marine accident investigation in London involving United Kingdom merchant vessels, pleasure craft, fishing vessels and other vessels, especially on issues relating to human factor indicated that a total of 2,485 accidents occurs yearly on the average.

A number of merchant ships on international  voyages were involved in collision or near misses. The causes were attributed to crew fatigue under manning, falsified hours of work records and failure to perform dedicated look out on the bridge. Other factors include poor situational awareness and anticipation/judgment by officers of the watch.

In addition, routine paper work, cargo work, maintenance, inspections, loading unloading, passage planning and actual working hours have also been identified to have contributed to accidents and incidences.

Under the STCW, checking and making judgment concerning certificates of competency lies with the body that assesses watch-keeping skills of crew members as compared to STCW table. It is here that judgement is made as to whether or not the level of competency of seafarers poses a danger to property, persons or environment, so that action for the detention of the vessel can be initiated.

Research conducted by seafarers International Research Centre concerning fraudulent practices associated with certificates of competency and endorsement show that evidence of fraudulent practice existed in certificate issued to seafarers.

Although shipping operations today are faced with many challenges, but what is crucial to ship safety is seafarers competence, and that means the competency acquired must conform to all the standard of training, certification and watch keeping.

That is why the statement made by the eastern zone coordinator of NIMASA, Sani Mohammed in Port Harcourt that his agency has nothing to do with graduates of institution that does not meet IMO standard in job placement, and other stakeholders should follow suit.

 

Corlins Walter

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CBN Retains Lending Rate At 11.5%

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Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says it has retained the Monetary Policy Rate at 11.5 per cent.
Disclosing this during a briefing after the first Monetary Policy Committee meeting for the year held in Abuja yesterday, the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, also stated parameters left unchanged.
According to the apex bank boss, other parameters left unchanged are the Cash Reserve Ratio and Liquidity Ratio at 27.5 per cent and 30 per cent respectively.
While announcing the committee’s decision, Emefiele said, “after a careful balancing of the benefits and the downside risks of the policy options, the MPC decided to hold all parameters constant”.
He said this is “believing that a whole stance will enable the continuous permeation of current policy measures in supporting the recorded growth recovery and further boost production and productivity, which will ultimately rein in inflation in the short to medium term”.
“The MPC”, he continued, “thus decided by a unanimous vote, the MPC voted as follows, one, retain MPR at 11.5 per cent; retain the asymmetric corridor of +100/-700 basis points around the MPR; retain the CRR at 27.5 per cent; and retain the Liquidity Ratio at 30 per cent.”

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NARTO Urges FG To Complete Mile 2 Port Access Rd

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A chieftain of the National Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO), Alhaji Abdullahi Inuwa Mohammed, has called on the Federal Government to expedite action on the reconstruction of the Mile 2 – Tincan Island Port Road to ease the hardship encountered on the road by commuters and truckers.
Mohammed, who made the call recently, noted that the completion of the reconstruction work on the road was one of the major expectations of the entire maritime stakeholders which was never met in 2021.
“They have to pay attention to the completion of the reconstruction work and make sure that they create enabling environment for the exporters, and also to make sure that the shipping lines do the needful by providing holding bays where trucks can freely go and discharge their empty containers.
“We urge the government to create an enabling environment. If those things are there and the enforcement team is doing what they should do with the Eto, things will get better.
“But we know now that we are having global challenge because about 65% of import has dropped but we know it’s a global challenge. There’s scarcity of containers globally”, he said.
While emphasizing that the Federal Government did a lot last year to encourage export trade, he, however, expressed regret that the system put in place by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), which they thought could have been improved for the exporters, the farmers as well as miners to enjoy was lagging behind.
“If you recall, last year, so many exporters lost their investment because of poor handling and poor facility which resulted to the rejection of some of the items exported by the receiving countries, which is not good for the country.
“So, we do expect that government should pay more attention to see that anything that will disturb the movement of export goods is being taken care of to create an enabling environment for exporters to export their goods”, he stated.
Mohammed, however, called on the Federal Government to de-emphasize tariff increments, adding that it’s not by increasing tariffs, irresponsible revenue drive and creating hardship for the citizens that it would improve the state of the economy, but by fixing charges that would be pocket friendly both to the importers and exporters so as to cushion the hardship on the citizens.

By: Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

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FG To Convert 200,000 Vehicles To Autogas … Plans 580 Refuelling Centres

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The Federal Government (FG) says it has perfected plans for the full deployment of autogas in filling stations and the conversion of 200,000 commercial vehicles to run on gas this year.
This was disclosed in a meeting with oil marketers in the downstream sector convened by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, in Abuja.
The meeting in which government unveiled the 2022 Framework for the deployment of CNG (Compressed Natural Gas, popularly called autogas) in Nigeria, had in attendance Senior officials of the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association of Nigeria, as well as other key players in the downstream sector.
At the meeting, Sylva told his guests that the government was out to ensure that it made available the alternatives required before the removal of subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit (petrol), stressing that the deployment of autogas was one of such key alternatives.
He also stated that the government would be supporting them with 50 per cent of the conversion kits to fast-track the process, adding that additional support as required would be given, going forward.
“We said we must provide alternative fuel and the alternative that we concluded on was the autogas alternative. To provide it for our people,” the Minister said.
He continued that “Since this agreement between us (government and marketers), a lot of work has been going on and we have come to a certain point where we need to take it further. But we cannot move further without ensuring that you as our partners are fully on board.”
In the framework, the government explained that with abundant gas reserves of about 206.53 trillion cubic feet, a population of about 200 million people, and the enactment of the Petroleum Industry Act, which eliminated the continuous absorption of petrol subsidy, it was now vital to deploy autogas.
The goverent stated that its priority now was the rapid and strategic introduction of Natural Gas Vehicles as an alternative fuel for transportation in Nigeria in line with the approved National Gas Policy.
“This will pave the pathway to full deregulation of the downstream petroleum sector in Nigeria, while reducing the effect of deregulation on transportation costs,” the document read in part.
It added that  “The Ministry of Petroleum Resources was charged with the responsibility to provide autogas (LPG, CNG, LNG) as an alternative and competitive fuel for mass transportation
“CNG was selected as the fuel of choice because it holds a comparative advantage due to its ease of deployment, its comparatively lower capital requirements, commodity’s supply stability, existing in-country volumes, and local market commercial structure which relies predominantly on the naira.
“Hence a single track CNG deployment is proposed in the initial phase and other alternatives can be considered as the market attains maturity.”
Three implementation options were highlighted in the document, as the government stated that in the first option, its target was to convert one million public transport vehicles and install 1,000 refueling centres within 36 months.
For the first 18 months it targets to achieve 500,000 conversions and 580 refueling centres supplied by five Original Equipment Manufacturers, among other targets.
In the plan, the government targets to convert 200,000 commercial vehicles this year, including tricycles, cars, mini-buses and large buses.
The cities captured in Phase 1 of the project include Abuja, Kaduna, Kano, Kogi, Kwara, Lagos, Ondo, Oyo, Edo, Delta, Bayelsa, Niger, and Rivers.
Cities under Phase 2 were listed as Sokoto, Katsina, Jigawa, Borno, Bauchi, Gombe, Yobe, Osun, Ekiti, Enugu, Anambra, Imo, Cross River, Abia, Akwa Ibom and Plateau. For Phase 3 cities, they were listed as Kebbi, Zamfara, Yobe, Gombe, Taraba, Adamawa, Benue and Ebonyi.

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