The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) performs the core functions of pursuing shipping development and regulatory matters relating to merchant shipping and seafarers; administration and regulation of shipping licences; administration, regulation and certification of seafarers; establishment of maritime training and safety standards, as well as regulation of safety as regards the construction of ships and navigation.
The agency also provides maritime security, maritime search and rescue, and ensuring compliance with vessels security measures; air and coastal surveillance; control and prevention of maritime pollution, as well as the performance of port and flag state duties.
It develops and implements policies and programmes that facilitate the growth of local capacity in ownership, manning and construction of ships and other maritime infrastructure; It is also responsible for the administration of the Cabotage Act of 2003, as well as the establishment of procedures for the implementation of conventions of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the International Labour Organization (ILO), as well as other international conventions to which Nigeria is a party.
Performance of these functions requires deep knowledge of all the issues and areas NIMASA’s mandate is expected to cover, in order to allow for their practical implementation. To this end, the agency has over the years developed a rich online storehouse and repository of knowledge that allows its personnel to access information and learning from any corner of the world at any time. This effort has culminated in the establishment of an ultra-modern e-Library which boasts hundreds of books covering 15 categories, all centred around the maritime industry in general and areas of responsibility of NIMASA in particular – such areas as Cabotage, safety and security, maritime and other laws, maritime labour, marine finance and marine environment. There are also books on marine engineering, safety and security, oil and gas as well as economics and business. This facility is also available to members of the public who may wish to avail themselves of information that would enhance their understanding of the workings of the maritime industry.
The Cabotage Act is the instrument that is going to enhance NIMASA’s function of shipping development and expansion in Nigeria’s maritime industry. This function has remained an area of priority for the present administration at the agency, the reason there is an array of books that cover various areas relating to Cabotage. As an absolute necessity, there is a book on Guidelines on Cabotage Act Implementation. This book outlines the process of implementing the law that would enhance the capacity of local ship owners to acquire seagoing vessels and also expand their fleet, including, most especially access to finance.
The Cabotage is not designed to benefit only Nigerian ship owners. There’s an opportunity for foreigners to tap into the area that still remains largely unexplored, despite the fact that at the moment, the country’s shipping business is dominated by foreign carriers. The book, Opportunities in Nigeria’s Cabotage for Foreign Investors to Get a Piece of the Action, provides guidelines for the realization of this objective. There is a book on A Strategic Reposition of the Maritime Industry for Economic Recovery and Sustainability: The Cabotage Act. For potential investors in shipping who may not be aware, NIMASA’s e-library has books that provide the required information on this important aspect of shipbuilding and ownership.
Marine business is associated with environmental issues. Indeed, environmental issues such as pollution, wrecks and relics, constitute challenges that are inherent in the maritime environment. This explains why prevention and control of marine pollution form part of NIMASA’s mandate. There are books to inform and educate on this very crucial aspect of maritime. They include Response to Marine Pollution, as well as Mapping Environmental Sensitivity Index of the Niger Delta to Oil Spill: The Policy Procedures and Politics of Oil Response in Nigeria.
The maritime environment and the businesses that are associated with it are governed by laws. There are books that give the necessary guidance on this. They include The State of Maritime Piracy, as well as Effects of Insurance on Maritime Liability Law: A Legal and Economic Analysis.
A lot has happened in the international maritime environment in the last few years which has impacted either positively or negatively on the Nigerian maritime industry. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic that took the world by storm in 2020, with far-reaching consequences on lives and livelihoods, is still being felt in the country, just as in countries around the globe. It is a development that has imposed on the world a compelling need for innovation and a search for new ways of doing things.
Maintenance of a rich e-library is driven by the need to keep NIMASA’s personnel saddled with responsibilities in such crucial areas as security and safety, surveillance, pollution prevention and management, search and rescue, administration, regulation and certification of seafarers, the establishment of maritime training and safety standards, etc. to be abreast of developments around the world as well as innovations that may occur in the industry. All these are aimed at enhancing the capacity of the agency’s personnel for optimum service delivery. As we continue to make progress in different areas, the e-library will continue to be an invaluable tool for continuous improvement in our performance.
Dr Bashir Jamoh can be reached on Instagram: @bashirjamoh, Facebook: Bashir Jamoh