Why we cancel Cabotage waivers – NIMASA
…insist on prosecution of defaulters
By Elizabeth Uwandu
The need to encourage more Nigerians in the Maritime sector, and to regularise unauthorised operation in the country’s territorial waters formed the directive to clamp down on defaulters of the Cabotage Compliance Strategy introduced last year to aid the implementation of the Cabotage Act of 2003 in Nigeria.
The Director-General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA , Dr. Dakuku Peterside, who made this known in Lagos also confirmed the detention of a vessel, said the Agency has ordered the detention of a tanker, Mt Navigator Capricorn, a Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) carrier, for contravening sections of the Act.
Noting that Nigeria will no longer accommodate any form of waiver under the Cabotage Act, particularly from oil firms, the DG said that such act does not help the growth of the economy.
The NIMASA boss said, “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 an undertaking to remedy the notable infractions when the vessel was issued a detention warning in October 2018,” he stated.
Speaking further, Peterside said, “While NIMASA is currently engaging 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.”
Peterside who in the company of his team during a visit to Oil Producers Trade Sector (OPTS) in Lagos called for 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.