From Anthony Nwachukwu, Lagos
In line with the provisions of the Coastal and Inland Shipping (Cabotage) Act 2003 and guidelines on its implementation, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has issued all companies engaged in cabotage trade in Nigeria a three-month ultimatum to register all vessels used in coastal and inland water trade.
Also, in addition to registration in the applicable special register for cabotage vessels and ship owning companies, and obtaining the Certificate of Cabotage Registration/License, operators with expired registration certificates are to ensure the renewal of their Cabotage Operational Certificate/License for all cabotage vessels within three months.
According to the Marine Notice issued to that effect, at the expiration of the three months, the agency will notify relevant government authorities and International Oil Companies (IOCs) to bar vessels without valid cabotage certificates, the NIMASA Director-General, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, said after the agency announced the decision.
Jamoh said the notice was part of efforts to ensure strict enforcement of the Coastal and Inland Shipping (Cabotage) Act 2003 and guidelines on implementation on the same Act, reiterating that, according to the Cabotage Act, every vessel intended for use in domestic trade must be duly registered by the Registrar of Ships.
“The law provides that every vessel intended for use under the Cabotage Act must be duly registered in the appropriate register and the operational certificates be renewed annually. We are out to ensure strict implementation of NIMASA’s mandate under the law,” Jamoh said.
“Ultimately, our intention is to build and continue to enhance the capacity of Nigerians in the shipping industry in line with relevant international regulations.”