Glossary of Terms and Abbreviations

Vessel Protection Detachment (VPD): A Military detachment provided by States to provide Armed Security on board ships to protect against piracy / armed attacks acting under formal Rules of Engagement.

Designated Authority (DA):  The government body responsible for ensuring compliance with the ISPS Code.

International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code:International Code for the Security of Ships and of Port Facilities consisting of Part A and Part B, as adopted, on December 12, 2002, by resolution 2 of the Conference of Contracting Governments to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, 1974.

Recognized Security Organization (RSO): Organization with appropriate expertise in security matters and with appropriate knowledge of ship and port operations authorized to carry out an assessment, or verification, or an approval or a certification activity, required by the ISPS Code.

PMSC – Private Maritime Security Company

IOC – International Oil Company

DPR – Department of Petroleum Resources

NIMASA – Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency

RSO – Recognised Security Organisation

NN – Nigerian Navy

CAC – Corporate Affairs Commission

FIRS – Federal Inland Revenue Service

ISPS Code – International Ship and Port Facility Security Code 




  1. All companies intending to operate in Nigeria are expected to comply with extant laws and regulations as implemented and enforced through various government Agencies and Establishments. Accordingly, for any company to operate in Nigeria’s commercial maritime security space, the following guidelines are expected to be met and complied with:


Step 1 – General Requirements (Mandatory)

  1. Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC):All companies are to be registered with CAC, or obtain waivers where they exist. This registration granted along with a certificate is in fulfilment of the Companies and Allied Matters Act Cap C 20 2004. It is imperative to indicate, “security Service” as an object in the company’s list of objects.
  2. Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS):For tax purposes, every company must register with FIRS and obtain a Tax Identification Number (TIN).


Step 2 – Registration with relevant Regulatory Agencies

  1. Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA):In accordance with the NIMASA Act of 2007 and the duly gazetted ISPS Code Implementation Regulation of 2014, NIMASA is the Designated Authority (DA) for the implementation of ISPS Code. Furthermore, it is charged with regulatory supervision and administration of other aspects of maritime security outside the ISPS Code in accordance with the Act establishing the Agency. In this regard, the Agency issues licenses to companies depending on the nature of their services, as follows:
  2. Recognized Security Organization
  3. Guards Force
  • Vendors for supply of Maritime Security equipment and Technology.


It is mandatory for companies seeking to conduct business within the ISPS domain to register in relevant fields as appropriate. 

Step 3 – Standard (Discretionary)

  1. This is discretionary and intended for companies who wish to attain the best professional standards and practices in the delivery of maritime security solutions in Nigeria. Companies operating in the industry are enjoined to become:


  1. Members of MASPAN
  2. Comply with MASPAN’s Operating Standards and best practices.
  • Insurance Covers
  1. Training for personnel





  1. Dedicated Security Service (usually provided to IOC’s)
  2. Security provider must comply with the “General Requirements” in Step 1 of this guide.
  3. Company must be registered with Nigerian Petroleum Exchange (NIPEX) on code 3.18.06.
  4. Company must have the appropriate Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) permit and any other requirements to operate or work as vendors/service providers in the industry.
  5. Company MUST have a valid MOU with the Nigerian Navy
  6. Escort vessel shall be provided by the company and approved by the NN.
  7. Upon an invitation for bid by IOC, the security company bids and secure contract.
  8. On basis of contract with IOC, the security company request for armed personnel from the NN for the specific contract indicating the vessel for the NN to release and assign armed personnel as appropriate.
  9. NN armed personal are deployed to specific vessels and are NOT to be transferred to another, except as approved by the appropriate NN Authority.
  10. Upon completion of the project/contract, the security company is to notify NN Authority for release of its personnel


  1. None-dedicated (Sport) Escort
  2. Company must comply with the “General Requirements” in Step 1 of this guide.
  3. The company must be recognized by the NN as a company operating in the maritime security field.
  4. Company must be a member of MASPAN.
  5. Such Security Company may apply to the NN commands for the provision of armed personnel to provide security escort for commercial vessels/shipping on transit to Nigeria.
  6. The application should be made to the appropriate Base/Command under whose Area of Responsibility (AOR) the vessel is making first port call.
  7. The application shall be accompanied by the following supporting document and other documents that may be needed from time to time by the Navy in order to authenticate the legitimacy of vessel and trade:


  1. Name and specifications of Vessel
  2. Bust size photograph of Master of the Vessel.
  • If Cargo is petroleum product, appropriate naval approval.


General Principles and Standard Operating Requirement


  1. The Company must demonstrate a sound knowledge and understanding of the most recent Industry Best Management Practices (BMP) and have a written set of Standing Operating Procedures (SOP); written policies and procedures that outline how they prepare and plan for each operation; a formal, written process for evaluating and managing risk; a written set of Rules for the Use of Force (RUF) that align with international Rules and governing actions in dangerous or threatening situations, and regulations, rules of engagement and laws of Nigeria; plans that cover reaction to mission disruption; and provide guidance to security teams on their response if in the event of emergency.







Command and Control

  1. Companies must have a clear command and control structure that ensures the command and control structure has been clearly defined and documented; contains a clear statement that at all times the Master remains in command and retains the overriding authority on board; and provides a documented list of duties, expected conduct, behaviour and documentation of the actions expected of the Security Team on board. In order to provide the required clarity the documented command and control structure should provide:
  2. A clear statement indicating that at all times, the Master remains the ultimate Authority on board, and retains the overriding responsibility for the navigation and safety of the vessel, its crew and cargo.


  1. A clearly defined set of vessel and voyage specific Operational Instructions.


  1. Clearly defined Rules for the Use of Force written in an unambiguous form using terms that are understood by all involved.


  1. Clearly defined list of duties and expected conduct of crew and security team on board.


  1. An effective command and control structure that will ensure transparent information flow and recognisable coordination and cooperation between the Ship Owner, Charterer, PMSC, Security Team and the master and crew.


Skills, Experience and Knowledge

  1. Companies operating in Nigeria’s maritime security space will be expected to possess sound knowledge and understanding of relevant national and international laws and regulations as well as the implications and responsibilities laid down within relevant Human Rights and Humanitarian Law and its relevance to maritime security operations.


  1. Companies will be expected to provide initial selection training and recurring training for crew, Maritime Liaison Offices/ Security Liaison Officers and others engaged in maritime security duties to ensure that they have the requisite skills to perform professionally and safely; and provide comprehensive records of training for inspection. Training in Personal Survival Techniques, Fire Prevention and Fire Fighting, Elementary First Aid, and Personal Safety and Social Responsibilities should be included in the training.


Insurance Cover

  1. All companies must have insurance cover commensurate with operations in which they are engaged including for accident, injury, damage and public liability for its own and third-party liabilities, in addition to others as maybe necessary.




  1. The Designated Authority (DA) shall statutorily screen and duly appoint RSO’s to undertake delegated tasks and functions as it deems fit. The conditions for such recognition shall be as laid down by the DA. The following guidelines shall apply to RSO seeking membership with MASPAN:


  1. The RSO must comply with the “General Requirements” in Step 1 of this guide.
  2. Possess valid documentation as issued by the DA to the effect that the company is a duly registered RSO


  1. Have a physical office from which it runs its operations and maintain a credible administrative structure.


  1. Show proof of capacity to carry out security surveys and audits as advised by the ISPS Code.


  1. Companies seeking to register as RSOs will be required to abide by the highest ethical standards well and beyond DA expectations. MASPAN is intent on being the gold standard for professionalism and ethics in the maritime security subsector and would continually update provisions herein to ensure this objective is met. In addition to adhering to all DA guidelines for RSO activities as promulgated or as periodically issued, members are to abstain from such practices that could bring the name of MASPAN to disrepute.


  1. Registered members are required to act in the collective interest of the Association in their professional and business engagements. The Association strength resides in the cohesion of its members and therefore takes issues that could bring about division seriously. While recognizing that internal differences are bound to arise for various reasons including competing business interest, members are encouraged to exhaust all amicable avenues to resolve such disputes. When this fails, members should seek recourse within association laid down dispute resolution channels and provisions.