Nigeria has joined the league of maritime nations that takes clean fuel for ships as a priority in pursuance of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) target to reduce fuel consumption by vessels as well as Green House Gases (GHG), and Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emission on voyage.
IMO has fixed January 1, 2020, for the full implementation of the regulation aiming to reduce sulphur oxide emission from 3.5 per cent m/m to 0.5 per cent m/m.
Consequently, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), had a landmark inaugural installation of the Thorium-X tablet, a fuel consumption data collection device, on board a Nigerian-flagged fuel tanker vessel, MT KINGIS, commencing the process targeted at ending green-house gas emission on vessels.
The pilot project, which came as fallout of the Maritime Technology Cooperation Centre (MTCC) conference held in Kenya, in March, also aims at reducing fuel consumption by vessels.
The MTCC is mainly targeted at developing countries, and Nigeria was made a priority and nominated for the pilot project.
The Director-General of NIMASA, Dr Dakuku Peterside, speaking at the installation ceremony, reiterated the Agency's commitment to global best practices in the execution of its mandate of regulating the maritime industry.
Dakuku, who was represented by the Head of the Marine Environment Management (MEM) Unit, Mrs. Felicia Mogo, said: "NIMASA is ensuring that we are keeping to global best practices with a commendable track record in administration and regulation in the maritime sector.
"NIMASA was chosen to lead the project in Nigeria, being the chosen country in the West and Central Africa region. This pilot project will last a year. But the data will be reported to the Kenyan portal, and then it goes to the IMO global portal after every voyage. Reports will be collated and sent after a three-month period. The findings and analysis are then recorded and reported at the end of the year to inform the country the amount of fuel being consumed annually on each voyage and how much GHG is being emitted."
Representing Sea Transport Limited, owners of MT KINGIS, Musa Ado Ibn-Saidu, expressed delight at being a part of the landmark installation initiative, adding that the crew were keen to use the tablet.
He thanked the NIMASA MEM team for the requisite training provided the crew members on the operation and usage of the installed Thorium-X tablet, saying that they are appreciative of the efforts the Agency is making to reduce GHG emissions to save the climate.
The indigenous NIMASA-nominated vessel is owned by Sea Transport Services Nigeria Limited.
The tablet is equipped with inbuilt internet capability for ease of communication of data, and also a dedicated software to calculate Energy Efficiency Operation Index (EEOI) of voyaging vessels. The information that results from the findings will facilitate decisions in maritime policy formation as it relates to GHG emissions from ships, and its effect on climate and environment.
The NIMASA Marine Environment Management unit has been at the forefront of efforts to ensure an environmentally safer and cleaner maritime domain.
Recall that about a month ago, the Agency announced its collaboration with the National Oil spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA), by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on marine oil spill incident management in line with IMO requirements. These initiatives collectively stand to give Nigeria added global recognition on issues of marine environment management and climate change.