By Nse Anthony-Uko
ABUJA, (Sundiata Post) – Heads of Association of African Maritime Administrations (AAMA) have unanimously agreed on fight against piracy in the continent. This was contained in a communiqué released at the end of the three-day conference of Association Of African Maritime Administrations (AAMA), tagged “Sustainable Use of Africa’s Oceans and Seas” held in Abuja last week.
The representatives of the following member Administrations that attended the Conference include Mauritania, South Sudan, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Sao Tome & Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Seychelles, Somalia, South Africa, United Republic of Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Ghana, Cote D’Ivoire, Comoros, Cape Verde, Djibouti, Benin, DR Congo, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Kenya, Guinea, Libya and Nigeria.
The following countries and organizations who also attended the conference include Jamaica, Netherlands, Malaysia, IMO, Abuja MOU, PMAWCA, SOAN, NPA, NSC, NITT, NIWA, NISA, ASA, WIMA, FAO.
The communiqué which was released by Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) at the conclusion of the AAMA Conference a number of key decisions to include, members are encouraged to re-enforce regional cooperation and coordination to enhance information sharing and regulatory governance among members to combat the menace of piracy and other maritime crimes while maintaining a balance between security and the facilitation of global trade.
The communiqué also stated that governments in the continents must develop measures in addition to Food and Agriculture Organisations of the United Nations (FAO) guidelines to protect exclusive economic zone and territorial waters from illegal, unlawful unreported fishing by foreign fishing trawlers.
The communiqué read, at the conclusion of the Conference a number of key decisions were agreed upon to achieve inclusive participation in global trade, countries must have the political will to facilitate trade through: transparency, simplicity of trade documentation and procedures, elimination or reduction of red-tapes (bureaucracy) and adequacy of and implementation of applicable laws.
It also agreed that the IMO affirmed its readiness to support Maritime Administrations in Africa in combating security challenges, and in building human capacity equipped to implement, monitor and enforce international instruments; the IMO will support, when possible, regular meetings of Heads of Maritime Administrations in Africa, at frequencies to be determined by the AAMA.
His Excellency, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari represented by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo SAN, GCON noted that Heads of State and Governments of the African Union have resolved to make the maritime sector a major driver for economic development.
The Vice President affirmed that the Nigerian government recently approved a new maritime architectural framework that will effectively make the waters of Nigeria free from pirates and also improve international trade. In addition, Government will also strengthen defense to protect and safeguard business.
The African Union Commission has set aside 25thJuly of every year as Africa’s Day of the Seas and Oceans. Maritime Administrations are encouraged to institutionalize this day to raise awareness amongst stakeholders of the strategic importance of maritime governance for sustainable development; highlight the important role Africa needs to play at international maritime forum; raise awareness on Africa’s “Blue Economy” and enhance the focus on maritime safety, security, maritime environment protection and human element.
Maritime Administrations are urged to devote concerted effort and planning to pursue the following: Enhancement of wealth creation, and regional and international trade performance through maritime-centric capacity and capability building; Minimization of environmental damage and expedited recovery from catastrophic events.
Others are: Prevention of hostile and criminal acts at sea, and coordination/harmonization of the prosecution of offenders; Population protection, including assets and critical infrastructure from maritime pollution and prevention of dumping of toxic and nuclear waste; improvement of Integrated Coastal Zone/Area Management in Africa; and promotion of ratification, domestication and implementation of international instruments.
The rest are: to address the enormous challenges of building human capacities in the maritime sector especially regarding training and employment of cadets, maritime Administrations should develop an integrated human resources strategy for the maritime sector to support the provision of skills taking into account gender balance in the entire maritime value chain which includes shipping and logistics, offshore activities, fishing, tourism and recreation, and safety and security (AIMS 2050).
Government should provide fiscal incentives to attract vessels to their respective ship registry; Governments should adopt the Port State Measures Agreement and to consider taking immediate actions to implement and enforce the measures; Strengthen the legal and governance framework for monitoring and control of fishing activities on a national and regional basis.
Governments must develop measures in addition to FAO guidelines to protect our exclusive economic zone and territorial waters from illegal, unlawful unreported fishing by foreign fishing trawlers; Members are encouraged to re-enforce regional cooperation and coordination, enhance information sharing and regulatory governance among members to combat the menace of piracy and other maritime crimes while maintaining a balance between security and the facilitation of global trade.
AAMA is urged to identify and carry out capacity building exercises for member nations according to their needs; Maritime Administrations are encouraged to facilitate the ratification and adoption of the African Maritime Transport Charter and the 2017 Lome Charter.
Recognizing the gender policies in the Maputo Protocol, Agenda 2063 and the SDGs etc, AAMA is encouraged to facilitate the adoption by Maritime Administrations of measures that will incorporate gender mainstreaming in the short, medium and long term strategy of each Administration; AAMA has resolved to take the lead in the collaboration of maritime agencies and the development of a well-defined national/continental strategy.
- All Maritime Administrations in Africa are encouraged to attend Africa Day of the Seas and Oceans on 25th July 2017 at Addis Ababa; To foster economic co-operation between AAMA members, AAMA has agreed to develop and adopt Near-Coastal Trading, Certification and Competency Code for mutual recognition of certificates that will reduce/eliminate contentions by Port State Control Inspectors.
Member administrations are urged to deposit formal instruments with the Secretary-General of the AAMA to complete their membership formalities; AAMA formally approved the Organisation of African Maritime Awards starting from Egypt 2018 to recognize and honour outstanding Africans.
NIMASA has been elected Chairman of AAMA with Eleven (11) members’ executive committee comprising of representatives of Central Africa (Cameroun and Cape Verde), West Africa (Cote D’Ivoire and Ghana), East Africa (Tanzania and Comoros), Southern Africa (Mozambique and South Africa), North Africa (Egypt and Sudan) and Uganda representing Land-locked countries.