… Encourages Member States to nominate Auditors
… To celebrate first International Day for Women in Maritime May 18
The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has said that not one of the audited African Member States had completed, terminated or effectively implemented the Corrective Action Plan after the period of follow up audit.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of a 3 day Workshop for Heads of Maritime Administration in the West and Central Africa region which commenced in Lagos on Monday, the Head, Africa Section, Subdivision for Maritime Development Technical Cooperation Division, William Azuh drew the attention of the participants at the workshop to the International Maritime Organization Member States Audit generally referred to as IMSAS.
Azuh observed that nearly 100% of the maritime administrations in the region had been audited even as he described the development as fantastic result.
“However, actions on the Corrective Action Plan (CAP) have been dismal, to say the least. If there is no feedback from the audit, you would then wonder why your administrations were audited in the first place. IMO has been literally ‘begging’ the maritime administrations to report back to it on the Corrective Actions implemented or lack thereof which were part of the audit recommendations. IMO is willing and able to assist the countries to implement those Corrective Actions but the initiation would have to come from you”, he said.
He pointed out that since the commencement of the audit in its mandatory phase (January 2016), twenty African Member States were audited including Cape Verde, Congo, The Democratic Republic of Congo, Cote d’Ivoire Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritania, Nigeria and Sao Tome and Principe.
Others according to him included Senegal, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, the Gambia, Sudan and Togo. He disclosed that all the audited Member States were provided with an Audit Final Report that reflected the agreed Corrective Action Plan to be, in general, effectively implemented after three to four years following the audit.
“Meanwhile, Member States are encouraged to provide IMO, periodically, with comments on the effective implementation of the Corrective Action Plan (CPICAP). To assist Member States, a CPICAP model form has been developed by IMO and sent to the Member States to be used when communicating to IMO.
“As a matter of fact and after the period of the follow-up audit, not one of the audited African Member States had completed, terminated/effectively implemented the agreed CAP. So far, IMO had finalized ten audit follow-up reports which reflect the CAP situation. This means that for the upcoming audit in the second cycle, the auditors will start with a heritage on the non-addressed findings from the first cycle…so, the observed gaps would still be there….
” With regards to provided CPICAs, the same scenario is recorded with very low engagement/involvement of the Member States in providing regular updates in the implementation of CAP (only six Member States out of the twenty provided some CPICAPs).
“I decided to deal with this matter in some details and engage the attention of high-level management within the African Maritime Administration on this situation and on the potential benefits derivable from IMSAS. With my colleagues in our Member States Audit Department, we are planning a dedicated high-level forum to specifically discuss the IMSAS and provide practical guidance, boost response and find desired solutions”, he added.
He went on to reveal that since the beginning of the mandatory phase of the audit, not a single training for auditors has been conducted in the African region explaining that the unique and latest one was conducted in Togo in 2015 for 23 participants from nine African Member States.
According to him, “Only three auditors among the 23 trained were nominated by their respective administrations. This needs to be addressed by encouraging beneficiary Member States to nominate auditors as that is the essence of the training.
“To encourage nomination of auditors, I will avail you copies of IMO Circular Letter No. 3547 and particularly to the recent Addendum 1 encouraging nomination of Women Auditors. As you may already be aware, on 18 May this year, IMO will celebrate the 1st International Day for Women in Maritime. So, woman must be part of this important maritime work. The criteria for nomination are established in the Procedure for IMO Member States Audit (resolution A.1067(28) part II, parag. 4.3) which I will also avail you.
“I know that I have taken some considerable time to bring these important gaps to your attention as policy makers with the hope that you will take immediate action. It is possible that these important issues may have escaped your immediate attention because of other competing demands of your offices, however, please bear in mind that every other aspect of maritime sector, national or regional, is based on and depended on audit. It is crucial.”
On the workshop, the IMO Chief recalled that the workshop was not the first of its kind in the region facilitated by IMO in collaboration with the Secretariat of Abuja MoU adding that the first was in Uyo, Akwa Ibom state in 2012, already ten years ago.
“How time flies. As a popular saying goes, a lot of water had already passed under the bridge since then. There have been several changes in the leadership of the maritime administrations in the region especially under the Abuja MoU membership. Port State Control is a critical element in trade facilitation and NY extension, the quality of shipping and shipping services in the region with direct implications or if you may add, consequences to the national economies. Awareness at the very top of governance in the maritime administrations is, therefore, crucial.
“So, this workshop is a meeting of minds between the Secretariat of Abuja MoU and ImO to bring the current leadership of maritime administrations in the region up to speed on their responsibilities under the Port State Control regime from the perspective of IMO”, he submitted.
The workshop was facilitated by the Abuja MoU on Port State Control for West and Central African Region and the International Maritime Organization (IMO).
Photo: Bottom row (from 4h left): International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Regional Coordinator for West and Central Africa, Captain Dallas Laryea; Representative of the Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Mr. Shehu Ahmed; Secretary General, Abuja MoU, Captain Sunday Umoren; Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mohammed Bello-Koko; Former Director General NIMASA, Mrs. Mfon Usoro; Director, Maritime Safety and Security, Federal Ministry of Transportation, Babatunde Bombata; Head, Maritime Safety Department NIMASA, Engr. Olu Aladenusi; Head, Africa Section, IMO, Mr. William Azu and other delegates during the opening ceremony of the IMO/Abuja MoU Workshop for Heads of Maritime Administrations in the West and Central Africa Region in Lagos.
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