The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) on Sunday has commenced a clampdown on vessels that do not comply with the provisions of the Cabotage Compliance Strategy.
The Director-General of NIMASA, Dr Dakuku Peterside, said in a statement in Lagos that the clampdown became necessary after several warnings.
Peterside said that the cabotage compliance strategy was introduced in 2018 to ease the implementation of the Cabotage Act 2003 in Nigeria.
The director-general said that the agency would no longer encourage the application of any form of waivers under the Cabotage Act.
He said particularly from the oil firms operations, such waivers does not help the growth of the Nigerian maritime sector and economy at large.
“Our laws forbid foreign vessels operating in our territorial waters, save for compliance with the Cabotage Act.
“There shall be no sacred cow when we commence clampdown on erring vessels.
“We want to increase the number of Nigerians who participate in the marine aspect of our business.
“We are working closely with the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) to have a joint categorisation of vessels operating under the Cabotage Act in order to ensure the full implementation of the Act,” Peterside said.
He also said that the detention order for a Motor Tanker, MT NAVIGATOR CAPRICORN, which is a Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG) carrier had been approved for contravening sections of the Cabotage Act.
The director-general said that the vessel was first boarded in October 2018 and all infractions of Cabotage non-compliance were noted and communicated accordingly to the charterer/owners representatives with 90 days grace period to comply.
He said the 90 days expired on Jan. 31, 2019.
“It is noteworthy that owners made undertaking to remedy the notable infractions when the vessel was issued a detention warning in October 2018,” Peterside said.
He said NIMASA was currently engaging the owners and charterers of the vessel on the need to comply with the laws of the land, MT NAVIGATOR CAPRICORN had been moved to Lagos Anchorage to allow space for other LPG vessels to discharge at the NOJ Jetty.
Peterside said it was noteworthy that he led members of his team to meet with the Oil Producers Trade Sector (OPTS) in Lagos.
The DG urged industry players to draw up a five-year strategic plan for the cessation of application for cabotage waivers and also pursue the utilisation of Nigerian-owned vessels for marine contracts.
“You will also recall that in August 2018, NIMASA introduced a new compliance strategy for cabotage implementation in Nigeria to ensure full implementation of the Cabotage Act, 2003 to secure jobs for qualified Nigerians in the maritime sector,” he said.
The director-general said that the agency, via a Marine notice, suspended considerations for applications of grant of waivers on manning for prescribed categories of officers in vessels engaged in Cabotage trade.
He added that the agency no longer considered application for granting of waivers on manning requirements for vessels engaged in coastal trade with regards to second officer, second engineer, second mate down to able seamen, ratings and stewards.