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NIMASA Begins Strict Enforcement Of Cabotage Act



For the first time in 12 years, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has shown the desire to grow the indigenous shipping sector through ending the application of waivers under the Cabotage Act. In a press statement by the deputy director, Public Relations of NIMASA, Isichie Osamgbi, the director-general of agency, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, said the agency would no longer encourage the application of any form of waivers under the Cabotage Act, particularly from the oil firms’ operations as such does not help the growth of the Nigerian maritime sector and economy at large. Speaking during a meeting with the Oil Producers Trade Sector (OPTS) in Lagos, Dakuku said NIMASA was on the verge of ending such waivers. He urged industry players to draw up a five-year strategic plan for the cessation of application for Cabotage waiver and also pursue the utilisation of Nigerian-owned vessels for marine contracts. According to him, “Our laws forbid foreign vessels operating in our territorial waters save for compliance with the Cabotage Act. We also want to increase the number of Nigerians who participate in the marine aspect of your business and we are working closely with the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) to have a joint categorisation of vessels operating under the Cabotage Act in order to ensure the full implementation of the Act.”

Dakuku urged the international oil companies (IOCs) to support NIMASA’s bid to ensure full implementation of the Act, adding that it would equally be of more benefit to the investors in the sector as it will be cost effective for them to engage Nigerians. Commenting on the previous resolutions with the OPTS, Dakuku stated that there was the need for the trade section of the oil producers to fulfill their own part of the agreement. He said NIMASA would not compromise the growth of the maritime sector, especially when it comes to the issue of enforcing statutory regulations enshrined in the Agency’s empowering instruments. In his own remarks, executive director of OPTS, which comprises major oil companies, Bunmi Toyobo, said the trade section was ready to comply with all directives of NIMASA. He said the information required by the agency to build and harmonise its data for better regulation of the sector would be provided by OPTS.
The meeting, which was well attended by OPTS, had managing directors and representatives of major oil firms, including Total, Exxon Mobil, Shell, and Agip amongst others.