The International Maritime Organisation (IMO), plans to delist about 87 countries for non-compliance with requirements of the 1978 Standards of Training, Certification and Watch-keeping for Seafarers (STCW) Convention as amended from its Whitelist.
As nations express worry over the new development, The Guardian gathered that Nigeria escaped the IMO hammer, and has maintained its position on the Whitelist, an indication that it is a healthy member of the United Nation (UN) agency.
The Director-General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dakuku Peterside, who confirmed the development, told The Guardian that, “Nigeria is not on the list.”
Nigeria, according to NIMASA, has ratified about 35 IMO conventions/protocols including the STCW Convention 78.
Others are;SOLAS Convention 74; SOLAS Protocol 78; SOLAS Protocol 88; Load lines Convention 66; Loadlines Protocol 88; STAR Convention 79; MARPOL 73/78 (Annex 1/11); MARPOL 73/78 (Annex III); MARPOL 73/78 (Annex IV); MARPOL 73/78 (Annex V); MARPOL 97 (Annex VI); CLC Protocol 1992; Fund Protocol 1992, among others.
In 2006, Nigeria and 23 other maritime nations were listed on the IMO’s Whitelist, a development that further boost the chances of local seafarers in the employment market.
The 1978 STCW Convention stipulates standards of training, certification and watch-keeping for seafarers.
“The main purpose of the Convention is to promote safety of life and property at sea, and the protection of the marine environment by establishing in common agreement international standards of training, certification and Watch-keeping for seafarers,” according to the IMO.
IMO currently has 174 member states, and three associate members, with 40 of them African.
However, it is still uncertain how many African countries would be affected, but the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), has already expressed concern that the planned deletion of South Africa from the STCW Whitelist would have major implications for its maritime sector.
The Chief Executive Officer, SAMSA, Sobantu Tilayi, was quoted as saying that the agency was extremely concerned by IMO’s planned action.
Meanwhile, the IMO circular merely stated the intention to delist some member countries without stipulating a date for the implementation, but Tilayi noted that the delisting could possibly be undertaken later in 2019.
“Even as we have a serious situation in our hands, and should never have found ourselves in this position, I am confident that we will act with speed and do so correctly to ensure that the intended action by the IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee is not finalised to South Africa’s disadvantage,” Tilayi said.
SAMSA explained that its response to the planned action would involve three broad activities – securing IMO assistance with compilation of the report required in terms of the Convention; hastening the Agency’s process to institute relevant quality management system; and constant engagement with stakeholders.