From Anthony Nwachukwu, Lagos
Effect from the end of December 2020, vessels for cabotage trade, comprising all those under schedule one, including fishing trawlers of all sizes, will no longer be allowed into Nigeria, just as imported barges and tugboats are also banned from the end of December 2021, the Federal Government has directed as it seeks to grow the local industry.
Also affected in schedule one are offshore supply vessels, house boats, tankers below 10,000 GRT and security patrol boats, which would not be allowed into the country from the end of December 2022.
In schedule two, offshore support vessels such as AHT larger than 5,000bnp with dynamic positioning PSV, and offshore construction vessels – Derrick Crane Vessels, Pipe/Cable Vessel, Surf Laying, Dive Support Vessel, are banned from the end of December 2023, just as Drag Head Suction Hopper, Dredger Suction Hopper and Trailing Suction Hopper Dredger would be banned from the end of December 2024.
Equally affected by same schedule are Heavy Floating Cranes, Heavy Crane Badge, Survey Salvage Vessels, Seismic Survey Vessels, Geophysical Survey Vessels, Jack up Rigs, Semi-submersible rig, Deepwater Drillships, Tender assist Rigs and Swamp Barge rigs.
More so, other than master, chief engineer and chief mate, Nigerians must have to man cabotage vessels under schedule one with immediate effect, while for all vessels in schedule two, the masters, chief engineers and chief mates must be Nigerians from the end of December 2023.
All relevant agencies, including the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), and Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), among others, have been notified to enforce the new policy according to the given deadlines.
The ban tallies with the five-year strategic plan earlier released by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) for the cessation of cabotage waivers and to grow local capacity, even as the NIMASA Director-General, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, disclosed that some foreign manufacturers have indicated interest to build such vessels locally.