The Association of African Maritime Administrations (AAMA) in conjunction with the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), on Friday, concluded its three day Abuja conference with a call on African Governments to provide fiscal incentives needed to attract vessels to their respective ship registry.
The participants which unanimously agreed to honour the African Union Commission which sets aside 25thJuly of every year as Africa’s Day of the Seas and Oceans, also tasked the Governments in the continent to adopt the Port State Measures Agreement and to consider taking immediate action to implement and enforce the measures.
The continental body urged for the immediate strengthening of the legal and governance framework for monitoring and control of fishing activities on national and regional basis, pointing out that Governments must equally develop measures in addition to FAO guidelines to protect the African exclusive economic zone and territorial waters from illegal, unlawful, unreported fishing by foreign fishing trawlers.
Subsequently, it encouraged members to re-enforce regional cooperation and coordination; enhance information sharing and regulatory governance among members, so as to combat more effectively, the menace of piracy and other maritime crimes while maintaining a balance between security and the facilitation of global trade.
The Maritime Administrations are expected to also facilitate the ratification and adoption of the African Maritime Transport Charter and the 2017 Lome Charter, furthered by recognizing the gender policies in the Maputo Protocol, Agenda 2063 and the SDGs etc, thereby quickening the adoption by Maritime Administrations, of measures that would incorporate gender mainstreaming, in the short, medium and long term strategy of each Administration.
Consequently, in a bid to foster economic co-operation between AAMA members, the communique stressed the need for AAMA to develop and adopt Near-Coastal Trading, Certification and Competency Code for mutual recognition of certificates that will reduce/eliminate contentions by Port State Control Inspectors; even as it urged member states to deposit formal instruments with the Secretary-General of the AAMA to complete their membership formalities.
In line with normal protocol and respect for host country, Nigeria represented by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency / Dakuku Peterside was elected to head AAMA for one year, as chairman, with 11 members’ executive committee, comprising of representatives of Central Africa (Cameroun & CapeVerde), West Africa (Cote D’Ivoire & Ghana), East Africa (Tanzania & Comoros), Southern Africa (Mozambique and South Africa), North Africa (Egypt & Sudan) and Uganda representing Land-locked countries.
The participants also, formally approved the Organisation of African Maritime Awards beginning from Egypt conference in 2018 to recognize and honor outstanding Africans.
The member states who were represented at the Conference included Mauritania, South Sudan, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Sao Tome & Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Seychelles, Somalia, South Africa, United Republic of Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Ghana, Cote D’Ivoire, Comoros, Cape Verde, Djibouti, Benin, DR Congo, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Kenya, Guinea, Libya and Nigeria.
While the other countries and organizations which also attended included Jamaica, Netherlands, Malaysia, IMO, Abuja MOU, PMAWCA, SOAN, NPA, NSC, NITT, ASA, WIMA, FAO and the Nigerian Inland Waterways Authority.
In the meantime, the IMO has affirmed its readiness to support Maritime Administrations in Africa in combating security challenges, and in building human capacity equipped to implement, monitor and enforce international instruments.