Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has begun clampdown on foreign vessels that fail to comply with the provisions of the Cabotage Compliance Strategy introduced last year to ease the implementation of the Cabotage Act 2003 in Nigeria.
The agency yesterday ordered detention of a tanker, Mt Navigator Capricorn, a Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) carrier, for contravening sections of the Act.
Director-general of NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, in a statement confirming the detention, said the agency would no longer encourage any form of waiver under the Cabotage Act, particularly from oil firms, as such does not help the growth of the economy.
“Our laws forbid foreign vessels operating in our territorial waters save for compliance with the Cabotage Act. There shall be no sacred cow when we commence clampdown on erring vessels.
“We 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 to ensure the full implementation of the Act”.
“The vessel was first boarded in October 2018 and all infractions of Cabotage non-compliance were noted and communicated accordingly to the charterer/owner’s representatives with a 90-day grace period to comply. The 90 days expired on January 31, 2019. It is noteworthy that owners made undertaking to remedy the notable infractions when the vessel was issued a detention warning in October 2018,” he stated.
While NIMASA engages the owners and charterers of the vessel on the need to comply with the laws of the land, Mt Navigator Capricorn has been moved to Lagos Anchorage to allow space for other LPG vessels to discharge at the NOJ Jetty.
The NIMASA boss had led members of his team to meet with the Oil Producers Trade Sector (OPTS) in Lagos where 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 Nigeria-owned vessels for marine contracts.
NIMASA had in August 2018 introduced a new compliance strategy to ensure full implementation of the Cabotage Act, 2003 to secure jobs for qualified Nigerians in the maritime sector.