The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) said it recorded 33 percent Increase in the number of wholly -owned Nigerian vessels registered in 2018.
Speaking during the maiden press conference of the agency yesterday, the Director General of NIMASA; Dr. Dakuku Peterside informed that there has been an increase in the number of wholly-owned Nigerian vessels in the Nigerian Cabotage register.
He said the 2018 half year result showed that 125 vessels were registered, representing a 33 per cent increase when compared with the 94 registered in the corresponding period in 2017, ading that currently, there are more than 200 vessels captured in the Cabotage register.
He further disclosed that about 68 per cent of vessels trading within the country’s maritime space are Nigerian-flagged.
He said NIMASA strategy of encouraging Nigerians to go into joint ventures and joint ownership of vessels with foreign operators yielded result with about 20 new vessels currently flying the Nigerian flag under the arrangement as against one in 2018.
According to him "NIMASA has adopted a strategy of encouraging Nigerians to go into joint ventures and joint ownership of vessels with foreign operators on a 60-40 basis, and this has started yielding fruit with about 20 new vessels currently flying the Nigerian flag under this arrangement, as against one in 2018.
"Bareboat charter of vessels has witnessed an increase, while foreign-owned vessels on Nigeria’s Cabotage register has witnessed a decline.
"It will interest you to know that, there has been an increase in the number of wholly-owned Nigerian vessels on the Nigerian Cabotage register. The 2018 half year result showed that 125 vessels were registered, representing a 33 per cent increase when compared with the 94 registered in the corresponding period in 2017.
"Currently, there are more than 200 vessels captured in the Cabotage register.
Also, about 68 per cent of vessels trading within the country’s maritime space are Nigerian-flagged. So the Agency is doing a lot in ensuring adequate attention is paid to the essence of the Cabotage, aimed at encouraging indigenous participation and job creation".
The NIMASA helmsman further stated that critical engagement with relevant agencies in the sector has helped in the conduct of capacity audit of existing shipyards and maritime training institutions in the country.
"One of the critical agencies NIMASA is collaborating with in the capacity-building and Cabotage waiver cessation strategy is the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB). NCDMB has the mandate to build local capacity in the oil and gas sector in line with the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development (NOGICD) Act.
"The NIMASA/NCDMB cooperation is already yielding fruit, as both agencies have achieved the categorisation of vessels for uniformity and harmonised enforcement.
That collaboration has also helped in the conduct of capacity audit of existing shipyards and maritime training institutions in the country." he stated. As for the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF), he maintained that the agency is currently working with the Federal Government and the Federal Ministry of Transportation to work out the modalities and process of disbursement. He also added that, NIMASA now has an automated its Final Billing System (FBS) to ensure immediate closure of all vessel’s transactions within two weeks.
“Before now, operators in the industry who come into the country with their vessels stay long on their transactions and incurred charges but the introduction of the system brought about changes.
“The final billing system, an automated system introduced by the agency aided them in the issue of sailing clearance, and helps improve dwell time and turnaround time in the port.
“It ensures immediate closure of all vessels transactions within a period of two weeks and puts an end to double billing and over billing,” he said.
Peterside pointed that the agency improved on maritime domain awareness used in tracking every vessel heading or leaving the country’s territorial waters.
He added that with the domain, a five-year profile would be done to identify and monitor vessels of special interest, illegal activities and help to minimise their effects on the country.
He noted that the business meetings between Nigerian shipping companies and other countries created a lot of opportunities for local businesses to meet their international counterparts.
The director-general said that as regards the Cabotage Waiver Situation Plan, some category of vessels would not be allowed to be imported into the country, saying that it would give room to building ships in-house.
He said the agency would be partnering with the Nigerian Content Development Board to that effect, urging shipowners to build capacity and take the opportunity.
He pointed out that there would be more enforcement of the cabotage regime, saying that the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund when implemented would support local people in coastal trade.
Peterside said that as regards security, there was a drop in the number of accidents on the waterways, saying that an automated maritime safety number existed for people to reach, of which search and rescue marshalls would be reached.
He said that without safety and security, one would not benefit from the coastal water and so the C4I system (Command, Control, Communications, Computers, & Intelligence) which was pre-emptive and reactive ensured the eye view of the countries coastal water.
He said that in the management of pollution of the waterways, the agency had met all international convention requirements and would be able to acquire the International Maritime Organisation’s Standard Operating Procedures for claims in pollution management.