By Okezie Nnadi
The Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Bashir Jamoh, has called for greater synergy between the Agency and the Federal Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture (FDFA) to ensure safety of fishing vessels and their operators in Nigeria. Dr. Jamoh made the call in Lagos at a strategic meeting with officials of FDFA to discuss issues relating to safety of fishing vessels, Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing, and broader crimes that take place during fishing operations and related matters.
Represented by the Head, Special Duties (External Relations and Technical Cooperation), Mr. Isichei Osamgbi, the Director General noted that there should be adequate information sharing between FDFA, which has the mandate to license fishing vessels, and NIMASA that is responsible for registration and survey of the vessels to ensure that unseaworthy vessels are not licensed to operate in Nigerian waters.
In his words, “It is important that NIMASA and the Federal Department of Fisheries agree to continuously collaborate on modalities for registration, survey and licensing of fishing vessels to ensure that all safety standards are met before they can be allowed to operate. This would drastically reduce incidents involving fishing vessels in our waters.”
Speaking on maritime security, Jamoh said with the acquisition and training of operators of the Deep Blue assets, the days of criminal elements in Nigeria’s maritime domain were numbered, as the assets had been fully deployed.
In his own response, Head of Monitoring, Control and Surveillance at the FDFA Lagos Office, Mr. Paul Opuama, thanked NIMASA for hosting the meeting, saying it provides a very useful opportunity to not only clear some grey operational areas but also foster greater collaboration in order to improve safety of fishing vessels.
The one day strategic meeting, which held under the auspices of NIMASA’s External Relations and Technical Cooperation programme, was aimed at seeking areas of collaboration between the two agencies for the benefit of the fishing industry in Nigeria.