The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA is set to introduce compulsory registration for all ships loading petroleum products in Nigeria in a bid to ensure a fairer treatment for Nigerian ship owners.
Director General of the agency, Dr Temi Omatseye declared at a recent media chat that henceforth every oil and gas vessel that seeks to continue NIMASA.
Omatseye argued that domestic operators do not benefit maximally from Nigeria’s’ local maritime trade and lamented that about 80 per cent of oil vessels doing business on Nigerian waters are not registered with NIMASA and regretted that this has been militating against the full realization of the objectives of the Cabotage law which was enacted in 2003.
He stated that before any oil tanker can get its permit from the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), it ought to have obtained a certificate from NIMASA as a regulator.
“Majority of the vessels operating in the oil and gas industry are not registered with NIMASA, so how are they getting their DPR permit? As a regulator we are supposed to give them the permit to trade on Nigerian waters before they go somewhere else, so obviously there is a loop hole in the procedure”, he observed.
Quoting copiously from the Cabotage Act, Omatseye sad: ‘no vessels order than vessels owned and manned by Nigerian citizens and registered in Nigeria shall engage in the domestic coastal carriage of cargo within the coastal, territorial, inland waters or any point within the waters of the exclusive economic zone of Nigeria’.
He however explained that the plan of NIMASA will be in conjunction with the DPR and other relevant agencies to stop every vessel found to be violating the law.
“We will need to sit down with the DPR and block those loop holes so that anybody who wants to get a DPR permit must get a NIMASA certificate first, so by virtue of that, they will all have to come to us first”, he stressed.