-by our correspondent.
Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi, over the weekend flagged off the National Wreck Removal exercise in Lagos, with a declaration that the maritime sector was being opened up for great investment opportunities with the exercise.
Amaechi extolled the Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Bashir Jamoh, for the initiative, saying, “This creative venture of clearing our waters of wrecks and derelicts, apart from guaranteeing better safety of navigation, opens up the prospects of many new investments in the maritime industry.
“This would tremendously help the Federal Government’s economic diversification drive and enhance Nigeria’s standing within the global maritime community.” He added.
The Minister highlighted the autonomous status of each of the agencies under the Federal Ministry of Transportation, stating that all the heads of the agencies are appointed on the basis of competence and expertise. He reiterated his readiness to support imaginative ideas from the Chief Executives.
For his part, Dr. Jamoh said the successful removal of the wrecks and derelicts would restore confidence in Nigerian waters, and eliminate obstacles to smooth, safe, and profitable navigation. He thanked the Minister for pushing the wreck removal idea through the Federal Executive Council (FEC).
He noted that the commencement of the wreck removal exercise was another milestone in the incremental achievement of the Triple S strategy of the current Management of NIMASA, anchored on Maritime Safety, Maritime Security, and Shipping Development.
“These wrecks inhibit the operation of shipping companies, which constantly strive to increase efficiency in order to remain in business. As a result, most of the shipping companies usually avoid operating or investing in areas where navigational hazards are identified due to high insurance premium charges.” The NIMASA DG stated.
“It is pertinent to state that the benefits that would be derived upon completion of the exercise extend to other areas of maritime core functions, such as search and rescue services, Cabotage monitoring, as well as prevention and mitigation of marine pollution.” Dr. Jamoh added.
Among those in attendance were Acting Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mohammed Koko; Managing Director of Ragi Industries Limited, Nasir Raji; President, Ship Owners Association of Nigeria (SOAN), Dr. MkGeorge Onyung. Others were Executive Director, Finance and Administration, NIMASA, Hon. Chudi Offodile; Executive Director, Operations, Mr. Shehu Ahmed; and Executibe Director, Maritime Labour and Cabotage Services, Mr. Victor Ochei.
NIMASA is charged with the responsibility of ensuring safety and security at sea as well as regulating the maritime industry in line with international laws and conventions, principally, the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Convention of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).