By Gift Olivia Samuel, The Sight News
ABUJA: In a bid to manage marine oil spill incidents in Nigeria, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) on Wednesday signed a Memorandum of Understanding(MoU) in Abuja.
The objective of this MoU is to strengthen cooperation, coordination and mutual assistance between the two Agencies with respect to Marine Oil Spill Management.
Speaking at the event, the Director General/ CEO NIMASA, Dr Dakuku Peterside, noted that proactive and well calculated response to marine oil spill is very complex and requires a well-coordinated effort by the Parties involved.
The DG who was represented by Engr. Joshua Fashakin, further explained that the MoU will make response to marine oil pollution incidents in Nigeria efficient and effective and consequently ensure marine environment sustainability.
According to him, “It is imperative to mention here that during the last IMO Member States Audit Scheme (IMSAS) that took place in 2016, the IMO auditors identified the lack of clear division of responsibilities for oil spill responses between NIMASA and NOSDRA with regards to the marine environment.
“This issue was not new as it had been coming to fore in our previous meetings and it was recommended that the two Agencies cooperate to achieve Nigeria’s common goal of effective response to Marine Oil Spill Incidents, hence the spirit of this MoU”.
He added that the MoU is a commitment made by the two Agencies and should not stop on the signing ceremony but should continue to guide and guard their actions at even targeting zero oil spill in the Country and the Region at large.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Director-General/ CEO NOSDRA, Mr Idris Musa, said that the MoU represents the renewal of the fruitful cooperation between the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).
He noted also that the MoU will harmonize the responsibilities of both Agencies especially during oil spill in the marine environment knowing that NOSDRA has the mandate as lead Agency for oil spill management as contained in its Establishment Act No 15 2006.
In his words, “As an Agency tasked with Oil Spill Management, Emergency Response and Control, we recognize the importance of strategic and progressive partnership with NIMASA to create a harmonious and bilateral relationship.
“It is in light of this that the Agency welcomes the development of this MoU to enhance efficiency and competency in discharging its responsibilities as the lead Agency for the management of oil spill incidents in Nigeria”, he said.
The NOSDRA CEO expressed belief that the new agreement will strengthen and reinforce cooperation and the institutional capabilities of both Agencies, and as well, lead to further possibilities to achieve their common goal in addressing the present global and emerging trends in oil spill management in the marine environment.