The minister stated this on Tuesday in Abuja.
The Minister of Transport, Idris Umar, has said that safe navigation is required in line with International Shipping and Ports Security Code (ISPS) for efficient maritime trade in the country.
Mr. Umar made this known on Tuesday in Abuja at the inauguration of the newly-reconstituted competent Pilotage Boards within the four compulsory Pilotage Districts of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).
The ISPS is an amendment to the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Convention (1974/1988) on minimum security arrangements for ships, ports and government agencies.
Having come into force in 2004, it prescribes responsibilities to governments, shipping companies and port/facility personnel to “detect security threats and take preventive measures against security incidents affecting ships or port facilities used in international trade.
Umar explained that safe navigation was required in line with the ISPS because a greater volume of imports and exports was conveyed through the ports.
He said that due to the importance of the ports to the development of the Nigerian economy, international maritime trade could not be over-emphasised.
He recalled that the tenure of the former pilotage board of the four pilotage districts appointed in 2006 by his predecessor had lapsed and there was a need to reconstitute another one.
Four pilotage districts include Lagos, Warri, Bonny/Port Harcourt and Calabar.
Their duties as spelt out in Section 45 of the Ports Act of 1999 are to hold inquiries concerning the conduct of pilots and to license pilots for the pilotage district on behalf of the authority.
The minister tasked the boards to ensure that pilots were appropriately appointed, monitored and sanctioned where necessary for safe navigation of the waterways.
Responding on behalf of the board members, Alimi Abdul, Harbour Master, Lagos Pilotage District, said the members would work tirelessly to transform the country’s maritime industry.
“We will put our experience to bear on the pilotage activities to ensure compliance with relevant laws as provided for in the Ports Act,” he said.
The members of the boards were selected based on their competence and experience on maritime industry such as Nautical Science and Maritime Navigation.
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