US Coast Guard lauds NIMASA on ISPS implementation
.Advises on effective Port Security
By Udeme Clement
The United States Coast Guard has commended the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, for its efforts at improving security and operational efficiency within Nigeria’s maritime domain.
The commendation was given in Lagos, by a visiting coast guard team led by Lt Commander Janna Ott. The delegation was in Nigeria to inspect facilities and ports.
Ott, a representative of the US Coast Guard on International Port Security Programme, said NIMASA had taken laudable steps to improve Nigeria’s compliance with International Ship and Port Security. ISPS, code.
Ott said of NIMASA, “You have a great team here. I thank them for their frank and open discussion in allowing us to give them our observations. Hopefully, they can take whatever we have given them to heart and start working on them right away.”
She, however, called for greater vigilance in terms of access to ISPS zones at the ports.
She added, “It is very important to know in your port facilities who is gaining access and why they are authorised to be there, before they go through those gates of the ISPS zone. You also need to be consistent with proficiencies of all the security personnel in holding people coming through those port facilities accountable. We already had a very good discussion with NIMASA”.
Responding, the Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, said, the country had made significant progress in addressing issue of access control around the port areas.
Dakuku, who spoke through NIMASA’s Executive Director, Finance and Administration, Bashir Jamoh, said, “The issue of access control is one of the paramount areas. The access road and access control are very important areas.
“Similarly, on access control, we just introduced stickers to the ports. We started implementing it early this month.”
He said, “The Federal Government had taken measures in partnership with the private sector to ensure that all port facilities in Nigeria are easily accessed”.
The DG pointed out, “NIMASA had recorded steady progress in its implementation of the ISPS Code. Nigeria has moved from implementation to enforcement.
“The issues you mentioned, we are dealing with them. One of the things we have introduced is training. We are aware that some of the facilities have these issues. Right now, most of them are going into biometric access control, which you observed in some of the terminals, like MRS and Five Star Logistics.
“We would do more in training, continuous visit to these facilities and create better awareness for them to implement effective access control strategies. We will be consistent in the things we do.
“In fact, we have gone from just implementation to enforcement, where after several engagements and if facilities do not comply with those required standards, we start to sanction them.”
The United States Coast Guard is Nigeria’s peer review partner towards ISIS Code implementation compliance. They regularly visit Nigeria to monitor implementation of the ISPS in the country.