- To consider clarification of what ‘serious incidents’ entail
ACCIDENT Investigation Bureau (AIB) and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) are both set to take air safety to the next level with an inter-agency mix of professionals who would review safety recommendations issued on accidents, serious incidents and continuous operation of the State Safety Programmes (SSP) and ensure that the recommendations are implemented.
Both agencies jointly inaugurated an 11-man committee in Abuja on Wednesday which will among other things provide clarity on what constitutes a serious incident as what currently entails in the ICAO Annex 13 is not all inclusive and is open to subjective interpretation and application.
A statement by the General Manager, Public Affairs, AIB, Mr. Tunji Oketunbi quoted Engr. Akin Olateru, the Commissioner of the bureau as saying that the committee would also consider any other areas of cooperation that would improve safety of aircraft operations in Nigeria.
He emphasized that the committee would also coordinate activities with regards to aviation occurrences, respect for the mandate and responsibilities of each organization, effective and efficient exchange of information and data amongst others.
Olateru explained that both government agencies nominated five representatives each to the committee, while one representative was nominated by the Federal Ministry of Aviation.
The AIB helmsman stated that the two agencies had worked together to ensure effective discharge of their duties in establishing and promoting higher levels of safety.
He said: “These 11 Joint Committee members will collaborate in the review of NCAA’s responses to safety recommendations issued by AIB on accidents and serious incidents.
“The committee will see to the implementation and continuous operation of the State Safety Programmes in Nigeria and any other areas of cooperation that will enhance safety of aircraft operations in Nigeria.”
He emphasised that NCAA was in charge of regulating the industry, while AIB focused on investigating serious incidents and accidents to promote safety of the sector.
Olateru reiterated the readiness of AIB to cooperate and collaborate with other agencies and organisations, both in Nigeria and abroad, in ways that would ensure continuous safe skies in Nigeria, West Africa and the world.
Also commenting, Capt. Musa Nuhu, Director-General, NCAA said the primary objective of establishing the committee was to ensure the enhancement of thorough coordination, collaboration and cooperation processes and public safety in aviation industry.
According to him, such coordination had been taking place between the authority and the bureau, although inconsistently and informally.
He described the inauguration as a giant stride towards performing the two agencies performing their functions in the areas of safety oversight and investigation of accidents and serious incidents with a view to determining probable causes, implement safety recommendations in order to prevent re-occurrence.
Nuhu emphasised that it was expected that safety and accident investigation experts would have the opportunity to sit down together to review safety recommendations that have been proposed by the bureau and the responses provided by the authority.
He said the two authorities were vested with the responsibility of the implementation of the SSP.
Nuhu pointed out that the Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations (Nig. CARs) Part 20 on Safety Management required that both authorities have access to appropriate information in the incident reporting system Mandatory Occurrence Reporting (MOR) and the Non-Punitive Reporting System to support the safety responsibilities.
“Pursuant to the above, both authorities are striving towards establishing compatible software to enable the sharing of safety data and this also is part of the mandate of this committee.
“It is also important that this committee continuously reviews the requirements of the Nig. CARs and the implementation of responsibilities it assigns to the Civil Aviation Regulations (Investigations of Air Accidents and Serious Incidents),” he said.
According to him, another area of cooperation to emphasize on is the clarity on what constitutes a serious incident.
The Director-General said the attachment C of Annex 13 gives guidance that was not all inclusive, which could be open to subjective interpretation and application.
He urged the committee to continuously engage in ensuring the establishment of conclusions devoid of ambiguous interpretations that would ensure frictionless and seamless description of lines of responsibilities.
“The committee will have to determine the detailed modality and methodology of implementation to ensure that there will be no compromise.
“This is necessary, as we are supposed to have a global perspective to the final reports being issued by the bureau, as they do not constitute AIB reports per say, but Nigerian report and are ultimately available in the public space,” he said.
He further urged the committee to address establishment of procedures for timely transfer of occurrence to ensure valid and valuable evidences were not degraded or completely lost before the transfer authority began investigation.