By Chris Ndibe
Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) on Friday said that the country remained steadfast in its decision to stop the use of single-hull tankers by Dec. 31.
The Director General of NIMASA, Dr Bashir Jamoh, disclosed this in a statement signed by Mr Philip Kyanet, Head, Corporate Communications of the agency.
Kyanet quoted Jamoh as reiterating the deadline in Lagos during a virtual meeting with the Shipowners Association of Nigeria (SOAN).
Jamoh also announced that NIMASA had secured approval for the disbursement of the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF), while the final details of the scheme were being considered before commencement of pay-out.
He said: “We are committed to the complete phase-out of single-hull tankers by Dec. 31 and operators still using this type of tanker should make adequate preparation to comply because there will be no going back on this decision.
“We have discussed the timeline for discontinuing the use of single-hull tankers and we have given five years to comply with the ban, which is, to all intents and purposes, a generous allowance,” Jamoh said.
The director general described shippers as ‘the beacon and hub of any developing economy’, adding that the journey to success for the current management of NIMASA depended on the shipowners.
He said that NIMASA would continue to pursue its functions of promoting and regulating shipping in collaboration with shipowners and all relevant stakeholders.
Responding to the shipowners’ concerns about the CVFF, Jamoh stated that the Minister of Transportation, Mr Chibuike Amaechi, had approved the disbursement of the fund, meant to assist operators in the acquisition of maritime assets.
“Only the details are being discussed with a view to avoiding former mistakes and ensuring effective and efficient utilisation of the fund,” the DG said.
He said that they had also submitted proposals to the minister to seek fiscal and monetary incentives for Nigeria shipowners.
Many of the country’s major shipowners, according to the statement, participated in the webinar.
They include SOAN President, Dr Mkgeorge Onyung; First Vice President, Mr Eno Williams; Iro Ogbeifun of Starzs Marine and Engineering Limited; Emeka Ndu of C&I Leasing Plc; Kameel Najjar; and Oviebo Ambros.
NIMASA had, in 2015, revised the timetable for the phase-out of single-hull tankers operating in Nigeria.
This followed the decision of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) to extend its deadline for ban on single-hull tankers for certain categories of tankers not engaged in international trade.
NIMASA utilised the IMO extension window to shift the final phase-out date for single-hull oil tankers to Dec. 31, 2020.
IMO’s Revised Regulation of Annex 1 to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) had required flag administrations to phase out Category 2 and 3 single-hull tankers by 2015.