NIMASA seeks multilateral cooperation on security of vessels
The Director-General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, Dr Dakuku Peterside, has called for multilateral cooperation among African nations towards ensuring vessel safety and enhancing opportunities in the maritime sector.
He stated this in Abuja recently while speaking on the topic, ‘Maritime Safety and Shipping Development in Nigeria: Challenges and Prospects,’ at the National Defence College.
“Shipping, perhaps, is the most globalised of all great industries in the world. Approximately 90 per cent of the world cargo is transported by ships. In the case of Nigeria, this figure is close to 95 per cent. There are over 50,000 merchant ships trading internationally today, manned by more than a million seafarers and carrying every kind of cargo. Thus, the safety of vessels is critical to the global economy,” a statement from NIMASA quoted him as saying.
He pointed out that maritime safety had moved from the approach of reacting to marine incidents only after their occurrence to a proactive regime entailing the prior initiation of solutions based on risk analysis.
According to him, research has shown that most maritime accidents in Nigeria result from human factors, stressing that industry actors have a greater role to play in the new approach to maritime safety, as they have better control over the human elements.
He said NIMASA was tackling the human factors that could imperil shipping in the country through its improved enforcement and monitoring mechanisms.
In his remarks, the Commandant of the National Defence College, Rear Admiral Adeniyi Osinowo, also emphasised maritime cooperation among African countries, particularly in the Gulf of Guinea, saying that this was key to maritime security, safety and development.
He said in Africa, there was an excessive focus on land, with little or no interest in activities in the sea, adding that, however, increased political contacts among African leaders had transformed that to “wealth blindness.”
“Wealth blindness in the sense that there is so much in the maritime environment in terms of economic resources and activities that could solve practically 70 to 80 per cent of our national economic problems. Our ability to explore and exploit the related opportunities is part of the problems,” he said.