By Sandra Chukwunyere
The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has announced the electronic verification of the new Ship Registry Certificates the Agency introduced on July 1. The new Ship Registry Certificates now have QR Codes (Quick Response Codes) embedded in them to enable Ship-owners, Stakeholders and Regulatory Agency’s Enforcement officers verify the validity of the certificates.
In a statement signed on Sunday by the agency’s Assistant Director, Public Relations, Osagie Edward, the agency also announced the enforcement of full compliance with the marine environment protection statutory requirements and documentation on Nigerian and foreign-flagged vessels operating within the country’s maritime domain.
All ship-owners and operators are now required by law to update their vessel documentations, which include all permits or exemptions, levies, record books and plan approvals. This is also a pre-condition for further processing of any vessel or company requests with the Agency.
NIMASA would mete out sanctions to operators who fail to comply with the relevant requirements.
The new move is pursuant to the Agency’s statutory mandate to implement all provisions applicable to marine environment protection and documentation as enshrined in the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL), 1973; the Merchant Shipping Act, 2007; and the NIMASA Act 2007.
Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, said effective application of environmental protection regulations in the maritime domain was crucial to the country’s quest for economic development. Dr. Jamoh stressed the Agency’s interest in bringing relevant stakeholders on board to facilitate a sound and seamless certification and marine environment protection regime.
The Director General stated, “We are deliberate, methodical, and strategic in the enforcement of the environmental protection requirements as they relate to our own laws and international regulations that we accede to.
“A well protected marine environment guarantees investors’ confidence, which is a basic necessity for the maximisation and optimisation of our rich maritime endowments. This touches directly on the country’s economic diversification and sustainable development drive.”
He added, “We are enthroning a sound and sustainable marine environment protection system that serves the interests of both the country and the operators. And necessary steps have been taken to ensure we have stakeholders on the same page.”
On the electronic verification of certificates, Dr. Jamoh said, “The Agency has adopted technology to guarantee more security for our documents and give stakeholders and the international shipping community greater confidence in our services.”
On her part, the Registrar of Ships, Mrs Nneka Obiayor, said security and business facilitation were the chief considerations in the introduction of the electronic verification of new Ship Registry Certificates.
According to Obiayor, “Safety and security of ships as well as ease of doing business are of uppermost priority in the design and implementation of the electronic verification of our newly-introduced Ship Registry Certificates.
“With a blend of technology and creativity, we have introduced new features intended to make our ship registration certificates more secure and easier to process.”