MDAs target domestication in 9th National Assembly
Legal complications have deterred the full implementation of the low sulphur regime for vessels as introduced by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in January 2020.
The National Technical Committee (NTC) on Greenhouse Gases (GHGs) Emission Reduction in Nigeria’s Maritime Domain, revealed this during its 3rd meeting in Lagos even as the group explored strategies to address the bottlenecks.
Although the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) have directed all ship bunker suppliers to comply with the IMO regime in Nigeria, there isn’t a legal provision for the regulation at the moment.
Speaking at the event exclusively covered by The News Diet, the legal representative from NIMASA observed that the IMO 2020 rule is part of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) annex VI which is yet to be domesticated in Nigeria.
The non-domestication of the MARPOL Annex VI is said to have sparked huge negative consequences with NIMASA unable to implement the requirement of the convention as punitive measures can’t be introduced and compliance can’t be measured.
Nevertheless, NIMASA’s Director of Marine Environment Management, Mrs. Aishatu Jidda encouraged the group to work assiduously in order to achieve the IMO rule via persuasion and stakeholder engagements.
The NIMASA Director also expressed optimism that the domestication of the MARPOL Annex VI could be achieved in the 9th National Assembly if all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) collaborate towards attaining the goal.
However, the representative of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mr. Olumide Ajayi revealed that the Authority had been directed by the Ministry of Transportation to introduce sanctions and regulation low sulphur.
“NPA has officers who go onboard vessels to ensure compliance to all necessary protocols of the IMO and the conventions. When we received a directive from the Ministry to institute actions in line with the low sulphur regime for vessels, we came up with a strategy and a document to implement the low sulphur fuel. We didn’t just take it like that because we were directed by the Ministry of Transportation,” he said.
Noting the legal complexities which restricted NIMASA, Ajayi stated that the NPA legal team had argued that the earlier domestication of MARPOL in Nigeria implied the domestication of MARPOL and all its annexes.
“Slow steaming of vessels coming into the ports is something directed by NPA to cut down the carbon emission in line with Nigeria’s commitment to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC),” he added.
Earlier, the Head of Climate Change Division of NIMASA, Dr. (Mrs.) Oma Ofodile posited that NIMASA has identified fuel oil suppliers through collaborative efforts with the NMRPRA in order to ensure quality and availability of compliant fuel.
Whilst stressing the need for collaboration between government agencies as well as private operators, she added that NIMASA had also identified DPR accredited laboratories to be verified for competence in fuel sulphur testing.
She also noted that the agency had developed draft regulations for the implementation of MARPOL Annex VI for final legislative action in line with domestication protocols, even as the agency commenced the registration of identified bunker fuel suppliers.
The meeting was also attended by representatives of the Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON), Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet), NMDPRA, Total Energy, University of Lagos (UNILAG), Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), among others.