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Navy’s duplication of NPA’s Maritime Safety Information portal worrisome

On Thursday last week, the Nigerian Navy (NN), unveiled an online Maritime Safety Information (MSI) portal and data centre to provide mariners with real time security and safety information on the waterways.

These were the exact roles assigned to the Command, Control, Communication and Intelligence System (CCCIS) at the headquarters of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) during the launch in June last year even in the presence of top naval officers.

Industry analysts say what has been the bane of wastages within the government circle is the incidences of scheme duplication due to the observed fact that MDAs are not always in the habit of sharing resources, but duplication because of corrupt tendencies.

Experts say duplication of process rather than sharing is another conduit pipe for the scare government resources.

The Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi at the launch made it clear that “This conceptualisation, development and installation of this Command, Control, Communication and Intelligence System by the NPA will in no small way promote the rating of our ports by the IMO. It will also principally deepen safety, security, environmental protection and trade facilitation.

The Minister said “It is pertinent to note that the development of this facility began with an approval in 2013 with the aim of providing Business Intelligence for the movement of vessels and cargoes”.

The Managing Director of NPA, Hadiza Usman, during the launch said that the facility had been developed to cover maritime activities in the six ports and four pilotage districts; supporting required information and data as needed by the industry.

She added further that the project (CCCIS) would incorporate other port automotive devices like the Vessel Traffic System (VTS) pursuant to the Chapter V Regulation 12 of SOLAS and the Integrated Port Community Information System (IPCIS).

Usman said that this was with the ultimate goal of establishing an automated single window system for the maritime industry and safety on Nigerian territorial waters.

However, during the launch of the Navy’s MSI, located in Apapa, Lagos, the Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Ibok-Ette Ibas said the new portal would provide adequate information on happenings in the maritime domain for sailors and ensure timely collation, processing and dissemination of navigational warnings, other safety information to mariners operating within the country.

Ibas, represented by the Flag Officer Commanding (FOC) Western Naval Command (WNC), Rear Admiral Sylvanus Abbah, said the availability of accurate and timely hydrographic data was a necessity for improved maritime activity.

According to him, “Robust Maritime activities cannot thrive without security and safety, which largely depends on the availability of accurate and timely hydrographic data and information.

“This data can be in form of nautical charts, be it paper and/or electronic navigational charts as well as navigational warnings about uncharted dangers which need to be dessiminated quickly to facilitate safe conducts of maritime activities.

“With this portal, I enjoin stakeholders to cooperate and utilise this facility for promotion of safety and security in Nigeria’s maritime environment.

“With our waters safe and secure, robust maritime activities will thrive, which will boost Nigeria’s economy and ultimately improve the well being of Nigerians.”

Giving additional details and scope of the MSI, Hydrographer of the Navy, Commodore Emeka Okafor, said: “The MSI portal and data centre is intended to provide navigational warnings of uncharted dangers and meteorological forecasts to mariners navigating within Nigerian waters.

“On the other hand, mariners would be able to easily reach out to the hydrographer to report any uncharted features observed during their voyage within the Nigerian waters, which may constitute dangers to navigation.

“Presently, the world is divided into 21 navigational areas and Nigeria is number two. Through this portal, Nigeria has fulfilled a critical International Hydrographic Organisation’s requirement for the development of hydrography.”

Efforts to get reaction from the NPA on the duplication weekend failed.