- As Over 2,500 migrants are rescued off Italy, over weekend
Nigerian Maritime industry watchers have begun to inquire if the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has what it takes to retake the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Council, following an ongoing, meticulous IMO Council audit of the Agency’s technical and manpower competence.
With the likelihood of the IMO audit being concluded today, and a growing positive results expectation, industry watchers are of the view that Nigeria should harness the gains of the IMO scrutiny, to begin another focused move towards getting back it’s Council seat.
“We should be on that Council seat. But does the agency has what it takes to pass the IMO test?” asked Anthony Emeordi, an importer of pharmaceutical products, stressing that except the nation’s preparation begins now, NIMASA may fail to clinch the seat, come 2017.
“If we don’t do certain things, we may never be able to get Nigeria into that Council seat again. We need massive campaign, unfortunately Nigeria has no money “, he noted further, highlighting a need to reach out to reliable IMO members, as potential voters early; building upon the Director General’s political and social clout.
But a master mariner who spoke on conditions of anonymity said the initiative of clinching back the IMO seat the country threw away out of carelessness, would take far more than a good relationship of any DG with the Minister or, massive campaigns.
“IMO Council members are not blind or deaf. Apart from fellow African countries who may vote for us on the basis of emotions, most others would want to evaluate Nigeria first, as a credible mandate performer!
“If a country is not marketable in terms of core mandate achievements, how can any Agency sell it to prospective voters”, he asked, emphasizing that it would be easier for a country with credible records of accomplishments, campaigning vigorously, to win votes than for another with a toga of lack lustre performance, especially in the war against piracy to do so; and concluding on the note that: “We are simply not there, right now”.
Another respondent, a chieftain of the Association of Marine Engineers and Surveyors (AMES), Emmanuel Ilori however insisted that the agency has never been more strategically positioned than now, to again place back the country on the Council’s seat.
“We have a very strong Director General at the agency.
“For once, we have a DG that is close to both the Minister and the National Assembly. It is unusual to have that kind of synergy. So, it should not be too difficult for them to push through, not only reforms, but also any forms of legislation”, he indicated, positing that the agency should be able to place the country on the Council’s seat come 2017, if it embarks on meticulous preparation, immediately.
In the meantime, more than 2,500 migrants seeking to reach Europe were rescued off the coast of Sicily over the weekend in 20 separate operations, the Italian coastguard said Sunday.
Vessels from the Italian navy and coastguard took part in rescue operations, along with ships from volunteer and aid groups. Medical charity Doctors Without Borders said it had recovered one dead body from one of the migrant boats.
Authorities said 1,348 migrants were picked up Saturday and 1,230 on Sunday.
So far this year more than 48,000 people have been brought to the Italian coast after being pulled from boats trying to cross from Libya, according to the UN refugee agency.
With the return of the good weather the rescue operations are expected to increase. For the time being the numbers arriving are similar to those seen last year and in 2014.
Additional report from MSN