NIMASA Accelerates Digitalisation Efforts Through MoU With Sternula

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R-L: The director-general, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, Dr. Bashir Jamoh and head of sales, Sternula, Denmark, Jacob Weibrent signing a memorandum of understanding while Danish Consul General in Nigeria, Jette Bjerrum (second from left) and head, legal services, NIMASA, Aisha Idris-Yakubu look on during the ceremony at the NIMASA headquarters in Lagos.

In a significant step towards advancing digitalisation in maritime operations, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has inked a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Sternula Denmark for the deployment of a full-scale, very high frequency (VHF) data exchange system (VDES).

Director-general of NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, OFR, who signed the MoU on behalf of the agency, expressed enthusiasm about the international collaboration aimed at boosting vessel-to-vessel and land communication in Nigeria. He emphasised that this partnership would not only enhance safety and security in Nigerian waters but also improve the productivity of seafarers.

Jamoh described the collaboration as a significant boost to NIMASA’s ongoing digitalisation efforts. The VHF data exchange system will provide alternative communication channels for vessels, aligning with the regulations set by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and the International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities (IALA).

The director-general highlighted the crucial role of timely information in viable seaborne transport, especially in the era of the Blue Economy. He emphasised the need for ship managers to have access to quality data for decision-making and capitalising on market opportunities. A well-digitalised system, he added, leads to faster access to information, improved customer experience, increased productivity, lower operational costs, improved decision-making, enhanced information security, higher mobility, and automation of business processes.

Jamoh mentioned that the IMO has set requirements for the e-navigation strategy implementation plan. IALA develops technical solutions like automatic identification system (AIS) to ease and promote digital communication in the maritime industry.

The MoU, signed by Jacob Weibrent of Sternula and witnessed by the Danish Consul General to Nigeria, Jette Bjerrum, entails VHF VES connectivity via Sternula fleet micro-satellites. This initiative positions NIMASA as Africa’s leading maritime administration with seamless communication between shores and ships, thereby improving the safety of lives at sea.

The Sternula-1, equipped with AIS 2.0 technology, also known as VDES, represents a new communication solution aligned with the global e-navigation strategy. AIS 2.0 enhances AIS by adding two-way data channels over VHF, using special satellite channels, enabling every ship with a VHF antenna to communicate globally. This partnership marks a crucial step towards a more connected and digitally advanced maritime industry in Nigeria.

Oluchi Okorafor
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