The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) is set to acquire about 100 brand new Cabotage vessels for indigenous operations in the oil and gas sector, so says it’s Director General, Dr. Dakuku Peterside.
Peterside stated this at a Maritime Stakeholders Interactive Forum on 'Ease of Doing Business' which held in Warri, Delta State yesterday.
He said that the agency is pursuing this goal in partnership with the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB).
"With our collaboration with the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), which is at its advanced stage, it will lead to the engagement of over 100 brand new Cabotage vessels in the oil and gas industry"
"On the 27th day of February, we will be presenting the Nigerian maritime outlook for 2018/2019, he said, even as he acknowledged that ‘’all of this and many more couldn't have been possible without the support and collaboration of different stakeholders".
We are open for partnership and collaboration, and will continue to work with stakeholders in the Nigerian maritime sector’’, he assured.
Reeling out some of the agency’s , Peterside said, "For us at NIMASA, we have our eyes on the goal, and that is why that, even the modest achievements we have achieved overtime as being down to collaborations with our different stakeholders. It is a pointer to this that we sent 298 cadets to do sea-time training in Egypt and the United Kingdom.
"It is also a fact that because of the new Cabotage compliance strategy, today and in the past six months, we have over 200 seafarers onboard different Cabotage vessels.
Also speaking at the forum with theme; Implementation of Executive Order 1, Ease of Doing Business in a secure Maritime Environment, Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Maritime Security, Administration and Education Hon. Umaru Bago however faulted NIMASA on the implementation of the waiver clause in the Cabotage Act.
He noted that there is an increase in the number of foreign vessels operating on Nigerian waters despite the transport ministry's denial of issuing waivers in the past six years.
Bago also alleged that the waiver process being administered by NIMASA is shrouded in secrecy and not following the required due process. He expressed disappointment that Nigerian waters are flooded with foreign vessels at the detriment of indigenous operators.
According to him, NIMASA and the Federal Ministry of Transportation, in treating applications for waivers under Cabotage in line with section 9 and 14 of the Cabotage Act must follow requirement of Article 3 and 8 of the Executive Order 2017.
"I have read through the executive order 1 of 2017, I find it very interesting and I take particular note of Article 3 down to 8 which talks about defaults in approvals, this should be very relevant to NIMASA as far as application for waivers under Cabotage is concerned"
"The process of issuing the waiver is seen as many as shrouded in secrecy, the law provides that waiver should be granted through a process but yet, NIMASA and the federal ministry of transportation says they have not granted waivers to any foreign operators in the last six years"
"If they haven't, how come these foreign operators are operating on Nigerian waters at the detriment of indigenous operators?"
"My message therefore is that NIMASA and the Federal Ministry of Transportation, in treating applications for waivers under Cabotage is line with section 9 and 14 of the Cabotage act requirement of article 3 and 8 of this executive order
There would no longer be foreign ships scattered on the waters operating without waiver" he said.