By Richard Adeniyi

The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) said it will ensure vessels on Nigerian waters comply with the International Maritime Organization (IMO) rule on the reduction of emission.

It would be recalled that the IMO had set January 1, 2020 for all vessels to comply with the new regulation that limits the sulphur content in the marine fuel used by vessels from the current 3.50 per cent to 0.50 per cent to ensure cleaner and safer environment free from pollution.

Speaking in Lagos recently, the Director-General of NIMASA, Dakuku Peterside, said the agency would create sufficient awareness among shipping stakeholders to ensure that they are abreast with the new regulation towards its implementation and enforcement.

According to him, the agency has fashioned out a four-dimensional process that will enforce compliance with the IMO new order in the nation’s shipping sector this year.

He said, “We have initiated an engagement with ship owners, ship operators, Captain of ships and seafarers on the new regime and the need for compliance.

“The second approach is that the agency has similarly engaged the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to ensure that marine fuel that meets the new IMO standard is refined at the NNPC refineries or imported. If you are importing fuel that will be used as ship bunker, it must meet with the new IMO standard.

“Therefore, we are engaging the Nigeria Customs Service, ship owners, Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON) towards this direction.

“The third approach is the development of transparent enforcement regime that will be known to all the operators and stakeholders. This is to ensure that nobody will have an excuse of lack of knowledge of the development because when we come on board your vessel and you don’t comply, then you face the consequences of your action.”

He further said that the agency is building the capacity of its staff who will enforce the regulation.

“We are very serious about the enforcement of the new regulation. We are the first country in Africa to install what is called Tytro X on vessels to monitor fuel consumption and determine its sulphur content in the fuel. We started this trial run under the MTCC network in Africa,” he added.

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