...Set to Begin Audit of Shipping Companies
The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) yesterday teamed up with the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to train maritime administrators from 10 West African and Anglophone countries on the implementation of the International Safety Management (ISM) Code.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the event tagged "Regional Workshop on ISM Code implementation for Maritime Administrators which held in Lagos yesterday, IMO Regional Cordinator for West and Central Africa-Anglophone countries, Capt Dallas Laryea said the workshop was meant bring maritime administrators up to speed with the ISM code.
According to him, the ISM Code is an extension of the IMO Safety of Life At Sea (SOLAS) convention.
The ISM Code came about from an accident in 1987 involving a RoRo percenger ship named 'Herald of Free Enterprise' which sank shortly after leaving the harbor and crossing the breakwaters of Belgian port of Zeebrugge where 193 persons lost their lives
Capt Laryea said NIMASA must implement the ISM Code and put it in country's national laws. He said they must also make sure that ships flying the Nigerian national flag implements the ISM Code
He said NIMASA should embark on an audit of all shipping companies owning and operating ships to ensure that that they have in place an Integrated Safety Management System.
"The ISM Code seeks to bring the managers ashore into the management of the ship at sea, it is not only the crew.
The Nigerian Maritime Administration is supposed to audit the shipping companies, the shipping companies will prepare their safety management system while the administration audits it and make sure that it meets requirements of the ISM Code, once it is audited they would be issued with a compliance certificate which lasts for five years and is renewable three months before expiry or after"
"NIMASA surveyors must go and inspect the number of hours seafarers are made to work, it was discovered on investigation that what caused the accident onboard 'Herald of Free Express' was fatigue of the crew"
"The ISM code is an amendment to the SOLAS chapter 9, it simply says that you must do what you have written and record what you have done" Capt Laryea said necessary sanctions would be determined by NIMASA because IMO is not for sanctioning, the punishment would be in the Nigerian National laws.
Also speaking, Director General of NIMASA, Dr Dakuku Peterside said the convention is to strengthen the issue of maritime safety.
Peterside said Nigeria is complying with all IMO regulations, including the International Ships and Ports Security (ISPS) Code. Already, he said Nigeria has been scored 90% in terms of compliance.
Peterside who was represented by the Executive Director of Operations, Engr Rotimi Fashakin noted that the ISM code is divided into thirteen chapters and the issue of compliance was introduced on November 25th 1995 but it came into full force in July 1,1998 .
"It is about ensuring safety at sea and also ensuring safety of life, personel and the sea components, not to destroy the ocean environment"
"In terms of compliance, two certificates are issued, the document of compliance issued to shipping companies that own vessels to let us ensure that they have safety firmly embedded in their order of business
While the second certificate, Safety Management Certificate is issued to the individual vessels"
"This workshop is to train and retrain and give full understanding to the administrators and managers of maritime business", he said.