Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), DakukuPeterside has said that transparency and integrity are crucial to robust maritime sector, in line with the ease of doing business initiative of the Federal Government.
Peterside, who made this call during the visit of a joint team from the Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC), and Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) in Lagos said: “We must be conscious of our international image because people who do business in our ports have alternatives. We must strive to make our ports user friendly and competitive; to achieve this, we need the support of all stakeholders in the maritime sector.”
He said NIMASA has fully keyed into the initiative of the ease of doing business and would continue to partner with other relevant government bodies in the ports in order to fully realise the essence, which is geared towards making the nation’s ports competitive, adding that it would in turn bring about more employment opportunities and also generate more revenues to add to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
The NIMASA boss called for sanctions for erring port operatives, stating that it will serve as deterrent to others. He said:”Where there are no consequences for offences, people will continue to err; therefore the need to make people face the consequences for their actions or inactions is not negotiable”.
He noted that the agency had reviewed its Standards Operational Procedures’ (SOP) manual and made the operational departments sign a service level agreement whereby boarding any vessel and other transactions will be done in record time, with a view to reducing delay in turn-around-time of vessels and to enhance trade facilitation. This he explained is in order to ensure full compliance to the Federal Government’s ease of doing business agenda.
Acting Chairman of ICPC, Musa Usman Abubakar, stressed the need for all government agencies in the maritime sector to carry out joint inspection of vessels at the ports in order to fully actualize the Ease of Doing Business initiative of the Federal Government. Abubakar noted that this move would aid the turn-around-time of vessels calling at our part and also bring about efficiency.
The ICPC boss, who was represented by the Director, Public Enlightenment and Spokesperson of the Commission, Mrs. RashidatOkoduwa, stated that activities in the ports would no longer be business as usual for operators and others who are yet to comply with the ease of doing business initiative, hence the reason they are seeking partnership with NIMASA and other agencies to join in the resolve to ensure a business friendly and conducive maritime sector in Nigeria.
The Executive Secretary of the NSC, Barrister Hassan Bello, who was represented by the Director, Legal Services of the NSC, Samuel Vongtau, appealed for more collaborative efforts by all the various agencies in the ports in order to realise an economically viable maritime sector in Nigeria.
The Federal Government’s ease of doing business initiative is geared towards ensuring faster processes and procedures in ports activities in the country, whereby vessels calling at the nation’s ports get good time value for their businesses, to allow for an improved turn-around-time in all forms of port transactions. To achieve this, all agencies in the ports are expected to collaborate and ensure seamless transactions in line with global best practices.
Navy Rescues Crew From Burning Fishing Vessel
The Nigerian Navy Command says its gallant personnel rescued three Beninoise nationals from a burning fishing vessel that caught fire at the Lagos anchorage, recently.
Flag Officer Commanding, Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral Oladele Daji, made this known in a statement.
The FOC said the crew members were rescued by the Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) BINI after a distress call was sent out past midnight, on April 21.
According to him, on arrival at the scene, the fishing boat was completely engulfed by fire with one of the rescued crew members, Yoes Senovou, severely burnt in the incident.
He said the crew members who could not communicate in English were given first aid at the Naval Base where they were stabilized, while Senovou was taken to the Nigerian Navy Reference Hospital, Ojo, for treatment.
“NNS BINI, while on routine patrol, responded to a distress call from a boat with call sign Sport Tail shortly after midnight on 21st April 2020 within the Lagos anchorage area.
“On arrival at the scene, a fishing boat was completely engulfed by fire. Three crew members, all Beninoise nationals, were rescued from the water and handed over to NNS Beecroft. They were given first aids at the Naval Base and stabilized.
“But one of the rescued crew members, Mr. Yoes Senovou, was badly burnt in the fire incident. He was promptly taken to the Nigerian Navy Reference Hospital, Ojo, where he was treated.
“It was not immediately clear why they were fishing in Nigerian waters, if indeed they were truly fishing. Although none of the crew members could communicate in English, they gestured that they had machinery failure and drifted into Nigerian waters”, the FOC said in the statement.
Daji said efforts were ongoing to hand over the rescued persons to the Benin Republic Consulate in Lagos, if they are not implicated in any criminal activity.
Unpaid Allowances:Dock Workers Shut Operations At PTOL
Aggrieved members of Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) on Wednesday shut down operational activities at Ports Terminal Operators Limited (PTOL) located at the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Port Harcourt Complex, over unpaid allowances.
The angry protesters also demanded for the removal of the Acting General Manager of the company, Mr. Mac Pherson, due to his alleged insensitivity to the plights of casual workers.
The protest which started at 8.am saw the gate of PTOL besieged by angry dockworkers who carried placards with bold inscriptions: “Pay us our allowances and we want the AGM removed”.
The protest forced the firm to shut down operations as over 100 dockworkers stormed the company’s premises, chanting labour slogans.
Our correspondent, who monitored the protest reports that the aggrieved workers forced their way into the company’s premises and disrupted its operations.
The angry workers blocked the main gate of the firm and prevented movement of persons and vehicular activities to and from the company.
There was, however, huge presence of armed policemen to prevent any breakdown of law and order.
Although the protesting workers declined to speak to the press, they insisted on the payment of their allowances and the removal of the company’s acting general manager.
Attempts to also speak with the management of the firm proved abortive as none was handy to comment on the development.
Stories by Chinedu Wosu
‘Pirates Abduct 22 Seafarers, Attack 37 Vessels In Four Months’
A global maritime reporting centre, the International Maritime Bureau (IMB), said a total of 22 seafarers were abducted by pirates and 37 vessels attacked in the first quarter of 2020.
The Bureau said it received reports of 47 attacks in the first three months of this year, with the Gulf of Guinea remaining the world’s piracy hotspot.
This is as IBM said, many incidents remain unreported even as seafarers were advised to remain vigilant at all times.
The Bureau’s 24-hour Piracy Reporting Centre disclosed this in a statement made available to The Tide.
The centre said, it recorded 21 attacks in the Gulf of Guinea in the first three months of this year, explaining that 12 were on vessels underway at an average of 70 nautical miles off the coast.
Armed perpetrators are targeting all vessel types. They approach in speedboats, boarding ships in order to steal stores or cargo and abduct crew members to demand a ransom, IBM said.
The Bureau explained further that the 17 crew members were kidnapped in three incidents in the Gulf of Guinea waters, at distances of between 45 and 75 nautical miles from the coast; 10 vessels were fired upon worldwide for the whole of 2019, with four already reported being fired at within Nigerian Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in the first quarter of 2020.
This, according to IBM, includes a container ship underway around 130 nm southwest of Brass.
The report said another container ship was boarded by pirates in another incident around 102 nm northwest of Sao Tome Island.
Speaking on the report, IMB Director, Michael Howlett, said: “Navy patrols, onboard security measures, cooperation and transparent information exchange between authorities, are all factors which help address the crimes of piracy and armed robbery.
“The threat to crew is, however, still real – whether from violent gangs, or opportunistic armed thieves inadvertently coming face-to-face with the crew. Ships’ masters must continue to follow industry best practice diligently and maintain watches.
“Early detection of an approaching pirate skiff is often key to avoiding an attack.”
The piracy report shows zero hijackings in the last two quarters and no incidents around Somalia.
In Indonesia, five anchored vessels were reported boarded by pirates, and five ships boarded while underway in the Singapore Straits.
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