The Maritime Workers Association comprising of the Nigerian Trawler Owners Association (NITOA), and the Nigeria Merchant Navy Officers and Water Transport Senior Staff Association have accused the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) failure to respond swiftly to distress call on the recent fire incident that gutted MV ORC IV off Bonny channel on the 6th February, 2019.
The association expressed displeasure over negligence on the part of Regional Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (RMRCC) unit of NIMASA as the incident left two seafarers missing.
Though official of the agency explained that they responded to the distress call put across by owners of the vessel, the trawler group lamented that the Search and Rescue unit of NIMASA failed to live up to the responsibility, which in turn led to the disaster at sea.
Reacting to the fire incident on Tuesday, President of NITOA, Akinsola Amire, in a statement berated the agency in charge offor safety at sea of inefficiency in carrying out its rescue operations as at when due.
According to him, the fire incident that led to two seafarers missing and a badly damaged trawler ORC IV would have been averted if the agency had responded in good time.
Recall that on 6th of February, the fishing company lost a vessel, ORC IV to inferno off Bonny anchorage in Rivers State after two days of burning without help despite repeated calls to the maritime agency. While expressing disappointment over the manner the incident was handled by NIMASA which eventually led to inability to put out the fire, Amire noted that the regulatory agency did not have the wherewithal to address safety issues at sea.
According to him, when NIMASA was contacted about the incident, the agency claimed to have a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with (NLNG) on occasion of fire incidents but added that “instead of NLNG to salvage the situation, it was asking for a contract before it could carry out the salvage operations.”
Amire alleged that “Nigeria Liquified Natural Gas NLNG claimed to have gone to the vessel location and reported that the vessel was beyond salvage, meanwhile they did not go to where the location of the incident but later asked to sign a contract before the salvage operations could be carried out.”
“We must call a spade a spade. It is me today, it can be anybody tomorrow. The question is what are they (NIMASA) coordinating, is it just to bear the name?
However, official of the Search and Rescue unit, who pleaded anonymity told The Tide that ” RMRCC operation is capital intensive and NIMASA cannot shoulder everything to handle issues of safety at sea alone because it is subjected to the will power. He noted that NIMASA has other stakeholders in the maritime that assist whenever there are distress calls based on proximity to the location of a particular incident.
“We got the alert around 8.30pm and we contacted our partner in that axis but we had network issues that period.
“We contacted NLNG to assist and rescue the vessel from sinking.” he said.
NSC Boss Warns Maritime Agencies Against Unhealthy Rivalries
The Executive Secretary/ Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Barrister Hassan Bello, has warned agencies in the maritime sector to avoid superiority rivalry, saying it has done the industry more harm than good.
He also advised heads of maritime agencies to avoid cosmetic cooperation and come together for the development of the industry.
Bello gave this warning at a sent-forth ceremony organised in his honour, last Friday.
Bello bowed out of service last Friday after eight years of service.
He was appointed by the Goodluck Jonathan administration in 2013. Before his appointment, he was the Director, Legal Services of the NSC.
Bello noted that some agencies spent so much in defending their territories while neglecting their statutory mandates.
According to him, “There is lack of synergy among the agencies and I don’t think it is succeeding because it has been the basis of equality. There is no agency that is better than the other.
“Agencies are not graded by their budgets but what they contribute, but it is very unfortunate some agencies think that maritime starts and stops with them. No, it cannot work.
“Some agencies are trying to defend territories and in doing so, they go to a large extent and that is not good. They spend a lot of money to defend these territories while they neglect what they are established to do and that’s why we are not developing and that’s what Nigerian Shippers’ Council will never take from anybody not now, tomorrow or forever. We are all equal, we all have contributions to make.
“We can’t be having cosmetic cooperation, we have to have real cooperation”.
Bello said that the Federal Ministry of Transportation had undergone a lot of transformations, saying the era of state capture was over.
He lauded the Minister, Permanent Secretary and Directors of the Ministry for giving the Council the opportunity to achieve a lot through their supports.
By: Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos
Okowa Seeks Permanent Site For Maritime Varsity
The Delta State governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, has called on the Federal Government to develop the permanent site of the Nigeria Maritime University (NMU), Okerenkoko.
Okowa made the call while playing host to the Governing Council of the university during a courtesy visit at the Government House, Asaba.
He said the establishment of a permanent campus would go a long way in putting the university on a sound footing, and ultimately enable it to deliver on its core mandate of imparting sound maritime-related education on students.
The governor said he was happy that the institution took off academic activities at the temporary site but urged the Federal Government to make resources available for the construction of buildings and provision of amenities that would enhance academic activities.
He noted that the birth of the special educational institution for the training of manpower in the maritime sector had strengthened peace and the economy of riverine communities.
Okowa advocated the need for more projects to be sited in riverine areas because of the inputs of riverine areas to the economy of the nation.
“We thank God that the Maritime University has started even when we have challenges because we do know that the take-off of the university brought good news to our people and helped us to build peace, particularly in our riverine areas”, he said.
Earlier, Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Governing Council of the university, Dr Elias Courson, commended Governor Okowa for his inspiring and magnanimous support towards the take-off and continued development of the university.
He also thanked the governor for establishing three additional universities in the state, which would provide additional access to quality education not only to Deltans but to Nigerians.
Dr Courson, however, appealed to Okowa to assist the university in completing the renovation/ remodelling of the classroom blocks, construction of additional staff quarters and provision of a potable water scheme in the campus.
By: Chinedu Wosu
2022 Nations Cup: S’Eagles To Travel To Cameroon By Boat
The Lagos State Ferry Services (LAGFERRY) says it will convey the Super Eagles of Nigeria by boat to Cameroon for next year’s Nations Cup.
Managing Director, LAGFERRY, Abdullah Balogun, stated this in a statement.
“We plan to take Nigeria’s Super Eagles to Cameroon for next year’s Nations Cup after achieving that of Benin Republic — this is a goal we have set for ourselves”, Balogun said.
LAGFERRY said they considered the boat trip following the success recorded in the Benin experience.
He said, “It was a major milestone for us to transport Nigeria’s national team to the Benin Republic through the waterways.
“Coming on board LAGFERRY through the international route to the Benin Republic is a mind-blowing experience. We were excited to be part of it”.
The LAGFERRY boss said the success recorded in the Benin game, where the Eagles won 1-0 away, was as a result of the trouble-free trip.
“It reflected on the field of play and it showed on their (players) performances because they came out victorious in the game,” he said.
Balogun said the players, during next year’s boat trip, would enjoy free Wi-Fi, USB pots and a lot of entertainment and side attractions enabled by technology.
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