27th September, 2021
By Esther Komolafe
The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) at the weekend flagged off the first phase of the National Wreck Removal Exercise that begins the process of ridding Nigerian waters off over 3,000 identified wrecks and derelicts.
The occasion was chaired by the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, who led other dignitaries to grace the official flag-off ceremony in Lagos.
He said that the exercise would open up the maritime Industry to huge Investment opportunities.
He, therefore, attributed the initiative to the Director-General of NIMASA, Dr Bashir Jamoh, whom he said initiated the idea of clearing the wrecks from Nigerian waters.
“This creative venture of clearing our waters of wrecks and derelicts, apart from guaranteeing better safety of navigation, opens up the prospects of many new investments in the maritime industry.
“This would tremendously help the Federal Government’s economic diversification drive and enhance Nigeria’s standing within the global maritime community.”
“It was the NIMASA DG’s idea that we should remove wrecks from our waters,” Amaechi added.
The DG of NIMASA, Dr Bashir Jamoh in his remarks said, “It is pertinent to state that the benefits that would be derived upon completion of the exercise extend to other areas of maritime core functions, such as search and rescue services, Cabotage monitoring, as well as prevention and mitigation of marine pollution.”
“NIMASA is charged with the responsibility of ensuring safety and security at sea as well as regulating the maritime industry in line with international laws and conventions, principally, the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea SOLAS Convention of the International Maritime Organisation IMO.
“In line with this mandate and in recognition of the importance of safety of navigation in maritime administration, the agency has established the need for removal of critical wrecks along the Badagry Creek.”
The NIMASA-boss had disclosed during a ministerial Retreat organised by the Federal Ministry of Transport in August that arrangements had been concluded for the recycling of wrecks and derelicts that would be recovered during the wreck removal exercise.
He said this would be done in partnership with the Bayelsa State Government and the Nigerian Railway Corporation NRC, which already has a Foundry in Lagos for wrecks recycling, with the ultimate aim of creating wealth from waste while providing jobs for Nigerians.
Jamoh said the commencement of the wreck removal exercise was another milestone in the incremental achievement of the Triple ‘S’ strategy of the current Management of NIMASA, anchored on Maritime Safety, Maritime Security, and Shipping Development.
The Director-General stated, “These wrecks inhibit the operation of shipping companies, which constantly strive to increase efficiency in order to remain in business.”
He said, “It is pertinent to state that the benefits that would be derived upon completion of the exercise extend to other areas of maritime core functions, such as search and rescue services, Cabotage monitoring, as well as prevention and mitigation of marine pollution.”
The first phase of the wreck removal exercise took place along the Badagry Creek