…exercise will enhance safety, reduce insurance premium – Jamoh
The Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Amaechi, has said the flag- off of the National Wreck Removal exercise will open-up the maritime sector for greater investment opportunities.
He made this assertion during the flag-off of the exercise at the weekend in Lagos, even as he lauded the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA)’s director-general, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, for the initiative.
“This creative venture of clearing our waters of wrecks and derelicts, apart from guaranteeing better safety of navigation, opens up the prospects of many new investments in the maritime industry,” he said.
According to him, this would help the Federal Government’s economic diversification drive tremendously and enhance Nigeria’s standing within the global maritime community.
“The autonomous status of each of the agencies under the Federal Ministry of Transportation is intact. All the agencies’ heads are appointed on the basis of competence and expertise. It was the NIMASA DG’s idea that we remove wrecks from our waters,” he stated.
Earlier, Jamoh said the successful removal of the wrecks and derelicts would restore confidence in Nigerian waters and eliminate obstacles to ensure smooth, safe and profitable navigation.
He thanked the minister for pushing the wreck removal idea through the Federal Executive Council (FEC).
The elimination or reduction of the costs associated with insurance, survey and charting of wrecks, the cost of shipping would drop, to the benefit of mariners and other stakeholders in the maritime industry.
“The commencement of the wreck removal exercise was another milestone in the incremental achievement of the ‘Triple ‘S strategy of the current Management of NIMASA, anchored on maritime safety, maritime security, and shipping development.
“These wrecks inhibit the operation of shipping companies, which constantly strive to increase efficiency to remain in business. As a result, most of the shipping companies usually avoid operating or investing in areas where navigational hazards are identified, due to high insurance premium charges.
“It is pertinent to state that the benefits that would be derived upon completion of the exercise extend to other areas of maritime core functions, such as search and rescue services, cabotage monitoring, as well as prevention and mitigation of marine pollution.
“In line with this mandate and in recognition of the importance of safety of navigation, the agency has established the need for removal of critical wrecks along the Badagry Creek,” he stated.
NIMASA is charged with the responsibility of ensuring safety and security at sea, as well as regulating the maritime industry in line with international laws and conventions; principally, the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), Convention of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).
Jamoh had disclosed during a Ministerial Retreat organised by the Federal Ministry of Transportation (FMOT) in August that arrangements had been concluded for the recycling of wrecks and derelicts that would be recovered during the wreck removal exercise. He said this would be done in partnership with the Bayelsa State Government and the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), which already has a foundry in Lagos for wrecks’ recycling, with the ultimate aim of creating wealth from waste while providing jobs for Nigerians.
The first phase of the wreck removal exercise took place along the Badagry Creek.
In attendance were acting managing director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mohammed Koko; managing director, Ragi Industries Limited, Nasir Raji; president, Ship Owners Association of Nigeria (SOAN), Dr. MkGeorge Onyung; executive director, finance and administration, NIMASA, Hon. Chudi Offodile; executive director, operations, Mr. Shehu Ahmed and executive director, Maritime Labour and Cabotage Services, Mr. Victor Ochei.