Nigeria set for electronic ship registration

L-R: Former President, Ship Owners Association of Nigeria (SOAN), Mr Greg Ogbeifun; Executive Director, Operations, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Engr. Rotimi Fashakin; Chairperson, Ship Owners Forum, Mrs Margaret Orakwusi; Director General, NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside and Executive Director, Finance & Administration, NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh; display samples of the new high-tech ship registration certificates by NIMASA during an Interactive Session on the automation of the Nigerian Ship Registry with Ship Owners in Lagos, recently.

As NIMASA unveils high-tech registration certificate

Nigeria is set automate her ship registration process as the Director General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside said plans have been concluded the electronic ship registration.

According to a NIMASA statement, the electronic ship registration will enhance the Ease of Doing Business in the nation’s shipping industry as members of Nigerian shipping industry at a recent forum with the NIMASA CEO in Lagos promised to support the initiative and pledged to fund the ship registration automation.

Peterside told the stakeholders that NIMASA had acquired software licence for the automation, which is rated by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) as the second largest in Africa, by tonnage, after Liberia, and 46th in the world.

According to him, the automation was the only way to boost the worth of the registry and quicken business processes.

 “Our principal aim is to achieve online electronic registration, accept electronic copies of documents and issue electronic certificates. Our goal as a Maritime Safety Administration is to create a world class Ship Registry, which will be attractive to ship owners with the aim of maintaining the influence of Nigeria in evolving international commercial and regulatory environment for shipping,” Peterside said. 

The NIMASA CEO noted that in 2018 and 2019 the Nigerian registry attracted two high index capacity vessels – Egina FPSO and MT Ultimate, saying NIMASA was confident that a lot more could be done to assist Nigerians in acquiring vessels, hence its intensified effort to ensure the disbursement of the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF).

The Director-General also highlighted the effort the Agency had made to secure an internationally competitive ship registry for the country, which include auditing the register of Nigerian vessels,redesigning and producing new ship registry certificates, and automation of the ship registry. Others are upgrade of the ship registry filing facility, review of ship registration guidelines, and ISO 9001: 2015 Certification.  

He noted that some of the biggest ship registries in the world, such as the UK Ship Register, currently maintained a second or international register to attract tonnage, while using the closed register to develop indigenous capacity. To that end, he said the Agency was considering establishing a second register to help grow Nigerian fleet and enhance the country’s role in international commercial trade. 

The DG called on stakeholders to assist the Agency’s new computerisation initiative. “Our esteemed stakeholders, whilst keeping our eyes firmly fixed on the objective of building a world class Ship Registry, we hope to rely on your guidance, experience, industry know-how and cooperation to endow the desperately needed credence and international respect for the Nigerian Flag,” he stated.

He stated that the Agency was in partnership with the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) to drive capacity in the maritime industry.

Speaking on background and development of ship registration, Mr. Mina Oforiokuma, a governing council member of the Nigerian Content Development & Monitoring Board (NCDMB), noted that technically, Nigeria’s registry was the largest in Africa based on the fact that Liberia operated an open registry, domiciled in the United States of America. More so, most of the vessels registered in Nigeria trade in Africa.    

 Speaking also, the Chairman of the Ship Registry Committee, Engr. Emmanuel Ilori, urged NIMASA to set clear timelines for the administrative process of ship registration and put in place precise change in flag instructions.

Ilori advised the Agency to ensure that qualified tonnage measures were employed to serve in the safety department. He commended NIMASA’s drive to enshrine full automation of all ship registration processes, revealing that it is one of the recommendations of the Ship Registry Review Committee.

NIMASA unveiled the new high-tech ship registration certificates, which come in various categories namely; Certificate of Nigeria Registry; Certificate of Nigeria Registry (provisional); Nigeria Certificate of Registry (Fishing Vessel); Nigeria Certificate of Registry (Fishing Vessel Provisional). Others are Nigeria Certificate of Registry (Bare Boat Charter Vessel) and Certificate of Nigeria Ship Registry (Cabotage).

L-R: MD/CEO Elshcon Nig. Ltd, Dr Emi Mebere; Vice Chairman CoT Leasing Plc, Mr Emeka Ndu; Member, Governing Council Nigerian Content Development & Monitoring Board, Mr. Mina Oforiokuma; Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside; Engr. Emmanuel Ilori; and the 1ST Vice President Ship Owners Association of Nigeria (SOAN) Mr Jonah Williams; during an Interactive Session on the automation of the Nigerian Ship Registry with Ship Owners  in Lagos, recently.

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