NIMASA is an acronym that stands for the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency which was formerly called the National Maritime Authority (NMA).
Nimasa was established by the Shipping Policy Decree of 11 May 1987 and was responsible for regulations related to Nigerian shipping, maritime labour and coastal waters. The agency also undertakes inspections and provides search and rescue services.
NIMASA was created on 1 August 2006 when the National Maritime Authority was merged with the Joint Maritime Labour Industrial Council, which were both formerly parastatals of the Federal Ministry of Transport.
Its governing board includes representatives of the Ministry of Labour, the Ministry of Transport and the Navy. NIMASA has a mandate to ensure orderly development, protection and manpower training in the shipping industry. It is also saddled with the responsibility to monitor marine pollution and spillage in Nigerian waters.
NIMASA is structured into 3 (three) Directorates. Each directorate is under the leadership an Executive Director. Each Directorate has two or more Departments, headed by a Director.
In general, there are 8 (eight) Departments reporting to the EDs and 9 (nine) Departments/Units reporting to the Director-General/CEO. Dr. Dakuku Adolphus Peterside is the current Director General/CEO of NIMASA.
Owing to the operational nature of the Agency’s functions, it also operates a Zonal structure to facilitate effective coordination of its activities in the four (4) principal maritime zones of the country (Nigeria).
The zones and their respective headquarters are Western Zone (Lagos), Central Zone (Warri), Eastern Zone (Port Harcourt), Northern Zone (Abuja).
Five per cent of NIMASA’s annual income is meant to support the Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN) and 35% of it’s income is to be used to develop maritime infrastructures.
The organization also provides funding to MAN for jetty and boat projects. In December 2009, NIMASA set up a fund which would cover 40% of the cost of a nautical education, with the students being responsible for the remainder.
As of 2011, the agency was still spending large amounts on training Nigerians in India, Glasgow and Egypt because MAN lacked the capability to provide complete training.
In May 2011, NIMASA mediated between the Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria and the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria who were seeking improved wages and terms of service.
NIMASA was also involved in the debate over a proposal to create a Maritime Security Agency (MASECA) as a successor to the Presidential Implementation Committee on Maritime Safety and Security (PICOMSS).
NIMASA and the United Nations were concerned that MASECA could be in conflict with the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, which does not allow merchant ships to be armed. The MASECA act also seemed to be in conflict with the act establishing NIMASA.
In June 2011, it promoted over 60% of its staff, including 135 junior staff were promoted to the next grade levels, and 536 senior staff.
Also in June 2011, it was announced that NIMASA would be acting as the approving authority and guarantor for beneficiaries of a new Cabotage Vessels Finance Fund, this time administered by banks, replacing the former Ship Acquisition and Ship Building Fund.