SHIP REGISTRY GETS YET ANOTHER BOOST: Norwegian Shipping Firms Set To Fly Nigerian Flag

<p>Weeks after a group of Nigerian ship owners under the aegis of Shipping Association of Nigeria&nbsp; expressed interests in adopting Nigerian ship registry and agreed to fly the Nigerian flag, another set of ship owners; this time from Norway has joined the train as they have expressed interests in embracing the Nigerian flag.&nbsp;</p>
<p>The decision to fly Nigerian flag was the highpoint of a meeting which held recently between the Director General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Mr Temisan Omatseye and seven Norwegian shipping firms.</p>
<p>Giving an insight into the meeting, Omatseye said that the meeting was to facilitate the transfer of their ships onto the Nigerian Flag under a Bareboat Charter arrangement. <br />
While restating that NIMASA will not compromise on safety standard, he never-the-less added that the agency is desirous of having more indigenous participation in the Nigerian maritime trade, even as he called for the provision of more fiscal incentives for shipping in Nigeria.</p>
<p>&ldquo;I sincerely believe that we should grant pioneer status to all those desirous of setting up shipyards in Nigeria. In addition to giving them tax holidays, we should also look at tax waivers for all those importing ships into the country. The industry is capital intensive and transformation can only be a graduated process&rdquo; he said.</p>
<p>It was confirmed that the vessels that would soon bear Nigerian flags are currently lying fallow in Norway. They will be leased to Nigerian ship owners, with NIMASA as the guarantor.</p>
<p>According to the NIMASA boss, there are lots of interests in the Nigerian maritime sector which are very buoyant and desirous of a much better participation by Nigerians.</p>
<p>Giving an insight into the agency&rsquo;s plans, he said: &ldquo;we are looking at LPG Tankers, LNG Tankers, and Very Large Crude Carriers, VLCC. With this arrangement, NIMASA can now compel the International Oil Companies to give contracts to indigenous ship owners without fear of substandard vessels&rdquo;.</p>
<p>Following the latest advances from Norwegian shipowners, Omatseye predicted that shipowners from other parts of the world will equally seek collaboration with Nigerians for the growth of the Nigerian maritime sector, but added that in achieving&nbsp;</p>