NIS Seeks Closer Ties With NIMASA Over Issuance Of Seafarers Travel Documents
Fred Omotara, Lagos
The Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) has called for closer collaboration with the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) over Issuance of travel documents to seafarers to avoid unnecessary duplication or overlap of functions.
Speaking on Thursday during a courtesy visit to the Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, the Comptroller General of the NIS, Isah Jere explained that NIMASA remains one of NIS allies in the Blue Border environment.
According to the NIS CG, “I decided to make this visit today to not only demonstrate our commitment to the existing partnership but also to seek the opening and widening of more collaborative opportunities for the mutual benefits of both agencies. NIMASA and NIS have got a lot to gain particularly if we deliberately deepen partnership and synergy in our operational activities. We shall make very useful contributions to the maintenance of Blue Border security and national economic prosperity if we join forces to address emerging challenges across our coastal lines.
“For us in the NIS, our Blue Border operational areas cut across the Sea Borders where we undertake the following activities among others: Crew examination and control, Signing on/signing off of embarking and disembarking vessel crews, Stowaway control, Processing of Temporary Work Permit (TWP), Handling of passport referral cases, Sighting of passport for consignees, Granting of transit pass to disembarking/transiting crew members, and granting of shore passes to deserving crews.
“The NIS collaborates with NIMASA, the Designated Authority (DA) in maritime safety in the following areas: Operationalization of the Coastal and Inland Shipping (Cabotage) Act, 2003; Seeking ways of standardizing Seafarers’ Identification Document (SID) in line with ICAO specifications; Processing/issuance of visas (TWP) and other immigration facilities to foreign seafarers; Participation in various joint committees aimed at ensuring the successful implementation of the Cabotage Act; Participation in the implementation of ISPS Code; Membership & participation of ISPS Code Implementation Committee (ICIC); and synergizing with NIMASA, Port Security Officers (PSOs), Port Facility Security Officers (PFSOs), Ships Security Officers (SSOs) to check security breaches by stowaways and other criminal elements within and around the port environment.
“We see the recent flag off of the Maritime Labour e-Registration as a commendable effort to digitalize the maritime safety environment for enhanced data rendition and security. However, we desire a closer partnership with NIMASA with respect to the issuance of travel documents to seafarers to ensure harmonization for ease of control.
“Sections 2 and 9 of Immigration Act, 2015 for instance, confer the power to issue travel documents on the NIS. We think that it is important that as government agencies, we need to deepen conversations on how to streamline our processes and procedures to ensuring that we do not allow unnecessary duplication or overlap of functions.
“We see enormous strengths in collaborations and synergy rather than working in silos which often tasks resources.”
Welcoming the NIS CG, Dr. Bashir Jamoh said that the issue of migrants coming into the country to conduct maritime business will be difficult without the NIS.
“International maritime administrations are saddled with enacting policies, developing strategies to ensure safe trips and cleaner oceans in terms of operations. It will be very difficult to achieve most of these targets and mandates without the NIS.
“On the issue of implementation of the Suppression of Piracy and other maritime-related offences (SPOMO Act), in terms of prosecutions and arrests, and when it comes to foreigners, the NIS is at the borders. They will be the ones to testify, identify; and ascertain the nationality of any criminal being arrested,” the NIMASA DG stated