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Abuja – The Federal Government said on Wednesday it had begun the implementation of the International Ships and Ports Facilities Security (ISPS) Code in the ports nationwide.
The Minister of Transport, Sen. Idris Umar, announced this in a statement by Mrs Yetunde Sonaike, Deputy Director, Press and Protocol, in the ministry.
The ISPS is an amendment to the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Convention (1974/1988) on minimum security arrangements for ships, ports and government agencies.
Having come into force in 2004, it prescribes responsibilities to governments, shipping companies and port/facility personnel to “detect security threats and take preventive measures against security incidents affecting ships or port facilities used in international trade.
The minister said that implementation of the code became necessary so that Nigeria’s ports system would be safe and secured for the benefit of Nigerians and foreign investors in the maritime industry.
“Nigeria is a country that depends solely on oil; making the ports safe is of paramount interest to the present administration,” it added.
He said the appointment of the Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) as the designated authority was part of the measures to address the identified gaps.
“Most process in dealing with the identified gaps would have commenced but not visible yet because of due process involved in implementing them,” he said.
Some officials of the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) recently visited the minister to discuss the ISPS code.
The USCG delegation, led by Mr Tivo Romero, was in the country to ascertain the level of Nigeria’s compliance with ISPS code after the expiration of 90-day ultimatum given to the Federal Government by the USCG. (NAN)