NIMASA Collaborates with MTCC Africa to Alleviate the Impact of Biofouling Management Training

NIMASA Collaborates with MTCC Africa to Alleviate the Impact of Biofouling Management Training 
Joyce Mmereole Okoli
Among the measures to tackle challenges related with marine biofouling in compliance to International Maritime Organization (IMO) rules, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and 
Safety Agency(NIMASA) in collaboration with Maritime Technology Cooperation Center(MTCC)  on Monday commenced a 3-day management training on Transfer of Environmentally-Sound Technologies (TEST Biofouling) project for partnering Countries in Nigeria.
Marine biofouling is the undesirable accumulation of biological matter on the surfaces of submerged objects such as ship hulls and pier pylons. It is usually caused by the adhesion of barnacles, macroalgae and microbial slimes.
Speaking at the opening ceremony in Lagos today, the Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh OFR, stated that the training would showcase the newest technologies.
He noted that the programme themed: “The Place of Technologies in the Management of Marine Biofouling,” will also explore the application including cost-effective practices and related benefits for the environment and efficiency of shipping.
“The importance of protecting and conserving our seas, oceans and their inhabitants cannot be overemphasized as we are intrinsically linked to them and their wellbeing reflects our own wellbeing too.”
“Shipping is at the crux of global trading and the economy with about 90 percent of world trade and commerce is facilitated through shipping. Studies however, revealed that ships serve as over a time have channel for transportation of harmful non-indigenous Invasive Aquatic Species (IAS). 
“These organisms attached themselves to the outer surface and niche areas of a ship, and are then translocated from one region to another. The process by which these organisms attached themselves to the ship and other surfaces is referred to as Biofouling.”
Knowing  that Nigeria’s economy relies heavily on international trade, the NIMASA boss emphasized that shipping is a key component of the country’s import and export activities, but it inevitably exposed the nation to threats of the IAS transfer into our territorial waters.
To distill the essence of the workshop on the transfer of environmentally sound technologies (TEST), the NIMASA Director General shared a quote, “a healthy ocean is a healthy future”
Also speaking, the Director, Head, Department of Partnerships and Projects, IMO, Dr. Jose Matheickal noted that the IMO is excited that NIMASA has taken the lead in a strategic partnership with MTCC Africa for the training on TEST Biofouling in Nigeria.
“We have been encouraging more women to participate in the sector and we are very excited to find African Women in Maritime (WIMAFRICA) Nigeria and other women groups emerging in the maritime space,” he said.
Also the Secretary General, Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control for West and Central African Region (Abuja MoU), Capt. Sunday Umoren observed that marine biofouling adds to the costs of operating vessels for shipowners.
“Biofouling works against shipowners because it increases the ship drag leading to more funds spent on fueling the vessels. However, acquatic species have the good, the bad and the ugly. There is a need to maintain a balance in the acquatic environment and the only way to attain this is for respective maritime nations to keep their acquatics,” Umoren said.
He opined that despite the environmental challenges associated with marine biofouling, one of the species which attaches itself to ships ‘barnacles’ is a very special delicacy in Spain.
In her remarks, the NIMASA Deputy Director, Marine Environment Management (MEM), NIMASA, Dr. (Mrs.) Oma Ofodile said that green house emissions pose a great concern to the IMO.
“Once a vessel is biofuels, there will be more emiaquaticshrough this training, we are ensuring that Nigeria isn’t left behind in heeding to IMO call for Net Zero by 2050,” she said.
Dignitaries at the event include maritime experts from Nigeria and across the African continent. Also  the Secretary General of African Ship-owners Association, Funmi Folorunso; President of African Women in Maritimegreenhouseerian Chapter, Mrs. Rollens Macfoy; the representative of the Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Admiral Superintendent Naval Dockyard Limited, Victoria Island, Lagos, Rear Admiral Abolaji Orederu.

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