By Aisha Cole and Uche Eletuo
Lagos – The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha, has urged all the maritime agencies to cultivate the benefits of the Blue Economy concept through creativity, innovativeness and collaboration.
Mustapha gave the advice during the 70th Celebration of the World Maritime Day, with the theme: “International Maritime Organisation (IMO) 70: Our Heritage – Better Shipping for a Better Future” held in Lagos on Tuesday.
According to him, maritime crime is an organised one with elements all over the world and we must, therefore, step up the need for regional and sub-regional collaboration at IMO meetings and other fora.
Mustapha, who was represented by the Minister of State for Works, Mr Mustapha Baba, said that the maritime domain was vulnerable.
According to him, its security is certainly beyond the capacity of one country or any existing regional body acting alone.
” Our worries are mitigated when considered that Nigeria is endowed with knowledgeable industry players, who are adequately equipped in the diverse industry-related services such as seafareing , maritime law, maritime administration and maritime education to provide the requisite professional and technical support necessary to reposition the industry.
“The theme of 2018 IMO celebration is a fundamental question that that requires individual countries to provide sincere answers in line with the funding objectives of the organisation, which includes, better shipping, safety and ensuring of ships and seafarers as well as the prevention of marine pollution by ships.
“From 1978 when the World Maritime Day was first celebrated, the event become an annual occurrence to provide opportunity for stock-taking, to assess what has been achieved, the present challenges and articulate the way forward for sustainable growth of maritime transport,” Mustapha said.
In his speech, the Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, said that Nigeria as member of IMO, a specialised United Nations (UN) Agency, was committed to ensuring safety and security of shipping and protection of the maritime environment.
Amaechi, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Transportation, Alhaji Sabi’u Zakari, said that was restricted to safety related issues, but over the years, its mandate expanded to environmental consideration.
He said that the global sulphurs limit, referred to as “IMO 2020” specifies a reduction in the content of fuel oil used by ships.
According to him, the IMO encourages member ststes to ratify and domesticate legal instrument, story uniform implementation and enforcements its regulations and laws.
He said that maritime activities were essential to the world’s economy, adding that over 90 per cent of the world’s cargo were carried by ships on the sea being the most cost-effective ways of moving goods and raw materials around the world.
Amaechi said that Nigeria was no doubt a maritime destination with about Coastline of 852 kilometres bordering the Atlantic Ocean in the Gulf of Guinea and maritime area of over 46,000 kilometres.
Also speaking, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Transportation, Alhaji Sabi’u Zakari, said the World Maritime Day was celebrated to sensitise the public to the achievements and challenges facing the Nigerian Maritime Industry.
Zakari, however, urged maritime stakeholders to make valuable recommendations after the event, which would assit the government and private sectors in making Nigeria maritime industry the maritime hub in Africa.
The Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr Dakuku Peterside, said that the agency had taken up some programmes to make Nigeria a catalyst for industrialisation and prosperity.
According to him, NIMASA had maped out some pillars in the view of restructuring the agency such as: survey inspection, environment security and emergency centralisation initiative, digital strategy reforms and capacity building initiative.
He said that the agency efforts had yeilded tremendous results with programmes in the maritime sector, adding that the maritime activities had taken place in Nigeria in 2018, which would extend till 2019.
The NIMASA boss said that with the support of the Federal Ministry of Transportation, the agency had been able to pushed the Catobage Law, which he said would be passed into law before the end of 2018.
He said that the economy benefit of Shipping was when the domain was safe and secured, adding that the agency had collaboration with various agencies to make Nigeria one of the safest maritime domain in the West and Central Africa.
The Executive Secretary Nigerian Shipper’s Council (NSC) Mr Hassan Bello, said that IMO had been improving the environment of maritime Industry across the nation.
He said that through the international conventions that IMO had also provided global best practices on pollution and minimum standards on maritime safety and security.
He, however, urged stakeholders to ensure that NIgerian overcome the challenges facing operators in the industry to enhance Nigeria as the economy future of Africa. (NAN)