Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency NIMASA has commenced clampdown on vessels that do not comply with the provisions of the Cabotage Compliance Strategy introduced last year to ease the implementation of the Cabotage Act 2003 in Nigeria.
The Director-General of NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, has said the agency will no longer encourage the application of any form of waivers under the Cabotage Act, particularly from the oil firms operations as such 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 your business and we are working closely with the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) to have a joint categorization of vessels operating under the Cabotage Act in order to ensure the full implementation of the Act”, he said
A detention order for a Motor Tanker, MT NAVIGATOR CAPRICORN, which is a Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) Carrier, has been approved for contravening sections of the Cabotage Act.
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 a 90 days grace period to comply. The 90 days expired on the 31st January 2019. It is noteworthy that Owners made undertaking to remedy the notable infractions when the vessel was issued a detention warning in October 2018.
While NIMASA is currently engaging the owners and charterers of the vessel on the need to comply with the laws of the land, MT NAVIGATOR CAPRICORN has been moved to Lagos Anchorage to allow space for other LPG vessels to discharge at the NOJ Jetty.
It is noteworthy that the NIMASA DG had led members of his team to meet with the Oil Producers Trade Sector (OPTS) in Lagos where he urged industry players to draw up a five-year strategic plan for the cessation of application for Cabotage waiver and also pursue the utilization 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.
The Agency via a Marine Notice suspended considerations for applications of grant of waiver on manning for prescribed categories of officers in vessels engaged in Cabotage trade. The Agency no longer consider application for grant of waiver on manning requirements for vessels engaged in coastal trade with regards to 2nd officer, 2ndengineer, 2nd mate down to able seamen, ratings and stewards.
Special applications for Captains, Chief Engineers, Chief Officers, First Mate in the absence of qualified Nigerians are considered on merit, but on the condition that such organization make plan to train a Nigerian and put in place a transition plan to ensure that the Nigerian takes over the job within one year.
The whole essence of this was to ensure that Nigerians are not deprived of the jobs due them on showing requisite qualifications for the job.