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US, NIMASA Partner on Entry of Vessels into America

By Patience Chat Moses

The United States Coast Guard (USCG) has offered Nigeria a three-year plan to work with the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) for the removal of the Condition of Entry (CoE) placed on American-bound vessels from Nigeria to ease their entry into the world’s largest economy.

Conditions of entry are a set of contract terms that a person or country accepts by entering another’s location. It is a means of checking trade barriers and business owners normally display such conditions of entry on a sign in situations where it would be impractical to sign a contract.

The Assistant Director, Public Relations, NIMASA, Osagie Edward and Juliet Hudson of USCG disclosed this during a peer review visit by a delegation of NIMASA to the headquarters of USGC in Washington DC.

According to the statement, Hudson announced a bi-annual assessment of compliance level with ISPS implementation at Nigerian Ports working with NIMASA.

In her words, “We will work with NIMASA to review the compliance level of Ports in Nigeria with the provisions of the ISPS Code. This will be done twice a year to enable us to update the Port Advisory Security Portal in the White House after which a decision will be taken to completely lift the Condition of Entry. We commend NIMASA for ISPS implementation and please deliver this award to your DG,” she said.

Meanwhile, NIMASA Director General Dr. Bashir Jamoh, received in audience, USCG Advisor, Benjamin Montz, who led the delegation to NIMASA. Jamoh stated that the Agency would continue to prioritize safety and security on the Nigerian waterways in order to realize the mandate of the Blue Economy.

While acknowledging the support from the American government in seeing to the implementation of ISPC in Nigeria, the NIMASA DG noted that any support to Nigeria should be extended to other countries in the Gulf of Guinea.

He said that Nigeria plays a vital role in the Gulf of Guinea (GoG) and called on the USCG to extend support to countries in the GoG region in order to consolidate the gains of the Deep Blue Project in the region, while also bolstering the existing ties in the region.

 “Nigeria is a major stakeholder in the Gulf of Guinea; you will agree with me that most of the activities in the region revolve around Nigeria. We acknowledge the support you have been giving us; we request that you extend it to other countries in the GoG, as a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, and all credit goes to the United States Government,”Jamoh said.

Speaking further, the NIMASA helmsman called on the USCG to assist in the area of training the Agency’s personnel, noting that a gap analysis will be done, and synchronized with the USCG in order to give the right training to the right personnel.

Earlier in his remarks, the leader of the delegation from the USCG, Montz, noted that they are in Nigeria as part of their plans to support the Agency in the area of training, while also collaborating with NIMASA to improve safety and security in the country’s maritime sector, with particular reference to port operations in Nigeria.

NIMASA is the designated authority responsible for the implementation of the International Ships and Ports Security (ISPS) facility code in Nigeria. Over the years, the Agency has continued to collaborate with relevant stakeholders to achieve its mandate, with the United States Coast Guard providing the required support and assistance towards the realization of safer and more secured waterways in Nigeria, and by extension the Gulf of Guinea.

On the other hand, USCG is the maritime security, search and rescue and law enforcement service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the country’s eight uniformed services.

It is a maritime, military, multi-mission service unique among the United States military services and peculiar for having a maritime law enforcement mission with jurisdiction in both domestic and international waters and a federal regulatory agency mission as part of its duties. It is the largest coast guard in the world, rivaling the capabilities and size of most navies.