By ODIMMEGWA JOHNPETER, Abuja
THE Hon. Minister of Transportation, Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi has stated that Nigeria will continue to abide by all the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Convention which has ratified and is prepared to turn around the fortune of the Maritime Industry going forward. The Minister who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Mr. Sabiu Sakari stated this during the opening ceremony of Nigeria’s IMO Member State Audit Scheme (IMSA) in Abuja.
His words, “As a state party, Nigeria is party to all mandatory IMO conventions and related protocols some of which are covered under the International Maritime Organization Member State Audit Scheme. Nigeria also has obligations and responsibilities to the IMO and its Conventions of which this Audit is an integral part”.
According to the Minister, the main objective of the International Maritime Organization Member State Audit Scheme is to promote consistent and effective implementation of the six (6) applicable IMO instruments as well as assisting member states to improve their capabilities in the enforcement of the instruments to enhance their overall performance in complying with the IMO Conventions.
He further stated that the six (6) IMO mandatory instruments which are to be audited in this exercise in Nigeria beginning from June 6 to June 13, 2016 are as follows: Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS); Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL); Standards of Training Certificate and Watch Keeping for Sea Farers (STCW) Convention; Load Lines (LL) Convention; Tonnage Measurement of Ships Convention; and Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (COLREG)
Hon. Amaechi also noted that the audit is not to witch-hunt the member states but a mechanism for determining the extent to which member states, like Nigeria are complying with the enforcement of the six applicable IMO instruments mentioned above.
He further stated that since the commencement of the Audit exercise in 2006, a number of member stated have been audited and their audit reports issued on the areas where they have done well with regards to the implementation and enforcement of applicable IMO instruments as well as the areas of weaknesses which are to be improved upon” he added.
“At my maiden meeting with the management and staff of the Ministry of Transportation and its Agencies on 19th December 2015, I was reminded of the need to request the IMO to shift forward the date for the Nigeria Audit in order to allow for more time to prepare for the International Maritime Organization Member State Audit Scheme.
I objected to the request given that the notification from the IMO with respect to the Audit had long be given and particularly that the Audit is to encourage member states to maintain consistency in the areas they are doing well and guide them to overcome in the areas they are having challenges. In this regard, I wish to appeal to our distinguished IMO Auditors that though we have sufficiently prepared for this Audit, they should be encouraged to guide us appropriately in the areas we have been found deficient in the implementation of the applicable instruments”, he added.
In his remarks, the leader of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Auditors, Captain Cahit Yalcin, thanked Nigeria for the warm reception given to the IMO delegation and also asked for the cooperation of Nigerian government so that a credible audit will be carried out to enhance Nigeria’s overall performance in complying with the IMO Conventions. Other members of the delegation includes Hakon Storhaug and Wei Song.