By Dapo Olawuni :
Nigerian Maritime Safety and Administration (NIMASA) has reiterated its commitment to the implementation of the Ballast Water Convention of 2004, even as he called for support for other countries within the sub region in ensuring safe, secure and sustainable shipping environment.
Director General of NIMASA, Dr Dakuku Peterside stated this yesterday at the Regional Workshop for West and Central African countries on Ballast Water Management Convention (BWMC) hosted by the International Maritime Organization and hosted by NIMASA.
Peterside said the agency will continue to corporate with other African countries especially the sub-region ones so as to effectively have a safer and clean water free of invasive species that can harm the economy of their nation.
According to him, Nigeria was among the first five countries to ensure ratification of the convention and it has since taken bold steps in ensuring its implementation, part of which includes; development and gazetting of regulations on ballast water management, pursuant to the Nigerian Merchant Shipping Act 2007.
Other steps taken by the agency on implementation of the convention includes; development and implementation manual on ships ballast water.
“Development of guidelines with reference to IMO documents for Ballast water reception facilities and ballast water exchange areas”
“Development of guidelines for enforcement of violations of the regulations on ballast water management. Development of globally recognized and integrated ballast water testing laboratories
Designation of allowable Ballast water zones in Nigeria”
The DG of the apex maritime regulatory agency in Nigeria stressed that it was important that Nigeria supports other African countries especially those in the sub-region so as to effectively implement ballast water and ensure compliance to the convention.
“No water is in isolation because when there is invasive species in the waters of our neighbouring states the chances are, they could migrate to our water and it is difficult to have boundaries when it comes to water in the high sea.
“Nigeria being among the first five countries to ratify the convention has taken giant steps in ensuring its implementation since the convention was initiated in 2004, even though it was not until 2017 that it came to force”
“With the implementation we will minimise the occurrence of invasive species carried by vessels coming to our waters and it’s beginning to show that you can’t carry ballast and discharged it anywhere within Nigerian water”
“One of the things we have done is designate special exchange areas where you can discharge your ballast water”
“We have also set up a specialised ballast water laboratory where we test your ballast , which Nigeria has also presented it to IMO, Port Assessment Risk Report which is a different model and very soon, it will yield result but the ultimate result is, we want to see high level of compliance and the implication of high level compliance is that there will be a minimal occurrence of a discharge of invasive species in our exclusive economy within our waters”
“Nigeria has commenced the baseline survey of different areas to identify species that exists within our coastal waters and of course keep appropriate data, so that if there is alien species in our water we will be able to identify them, isolate and and treat them as soon as practical but the idea is that no foreign invasive species should be found in our waters.
“We want to maintain the guidelines for biodiversity that is the ultimate thing for us when it comes to managing ballast water that ships should not bring alien species that will invade our coastal water and destroy our biodiversity” he said
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