New Telegraph

Nigeria moves to check harmful organisms on waters

The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has resolved to check harmful aquatic organisms being transported across Nigerian waters by tankers. It noted that the country was taking proactive steps to address its exposure to the threat of ballast water because of the high tanker traffic in its waters. Director-General of the Agency, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, disclosed this in Lagos at the 10th meeting of the National Taskforce (NTF) on Implementation of Ballast Water Management (BWM) Convention 2004.

The Agency’s Assistant Director, Osagie Edward, said in statement that the director-general said Nigeria was prone to the effects of harmful aquatic organisms transported across regions by tankers. Jamoh said NIMASA, the lead agency for the implementation of international conventions, codes and regulations of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), had, in conjunction with other members of the NTF, set up a plan for full implementation of the BWM Convention in the country. The NIMASA boss, who was represented by the Director, Marine Accident Investigation Unit, Mrs Rita Egbuche, noted: “As an oil producing country, we recognise the country’s susceptibility to the danger of ballast water and we have put processes and actions in place to deal with the threat in line with the resolutions of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).

“We would continue to update and fine-tune our strategies as new developments emerge. “All ships, especially tankers, carry ballast water while on voyage to maintain stability and operate effectively and safely. But ballast water has also been identified as one of the major vectors for the introduction of invasive alien species in the marine environment.”

He listed the roadmap for Nigeria’s full implementation of the BWM convention to include development of ballast sediment reception facilities; establishment of globally recognised and integrated BWM testing laboratory; development of regulations and guidelines for ship-owners and authorisation of classification societies and formalisation of agreement with NIMASA on safety and prevention of pollution survey and certification. Others measures are partnership with relevant research institutions and universities on biological baseline studies of Nigerian ports and coastal states, particularly the sensitive areas with prevalence of marine lives and training of surveyors and marine inspectors for the enforcement of the BWM Convention.

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