The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has inaugurated a maritime search and rescue committee, even as it discloses that it already has a Joint Rescue Coordination Centre and four Rescue Sub Centres in different parts of the country.
Membership of the maritime search and rescue committee were unfolded at a ceremony in Lagos last week where NIMASA’s director general, Dr Ade Dosunmu who pointed out that Nigeria’s position in regional and global maritime activities is such that it can not afford to treat search and rescue maters with levity.
While the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre, collaboration between NIMASA and the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) in located at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos, the four Rescue Sub Centres are located in Oron, Bonny, Lokoja and Escravos.
Members of the new inter agency committee are drawn from: Nigeria Ports Authourity, NAMA, NIMASA, National Inland Waterways Authourity, the Navy, Marine Police, Nigerian Air Force , Nigerian security and Civil Defence Corps, oil companies and indigenous ship owners, among other groups.
Specifically, the new body which is to be headed by NIMAS will perform search and rescue operations, provide medical assistance, evacuate, provide security, provide resources for distressed crafts within the nation’s territorial waters.
Justifying the need for a standby search and rescue action plan in case of marine mishaps, the NIMASA boss who was represented by the agency’s executive director in charge of finance and administration, Dr Danjuma Dabo acknowledged that man can not predict weather most accurately, hence the likelihood that seafarers will be faced with a distressed situation.
Quoting copiously from conventions and resolutions of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), Dr Dosunmu pointed out that the establishment of one of the five Regional Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (RMRCC0 in Lagos, Nigeria underscores the importance of Nigeria in sub regional maritime activities.
Emphasising the importance of the assignment of the inter-agency committee, Dr Dosunmu stated however that : “search and rescue is everybody’s business as we all know, that is why it is extremely important to have a national SAR committee where all stakeholders can effectively contribute towards improving Nigeria’s SAR services thereby uplifting our image as a maritime nation”.