DG NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside

The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency NIMASA has introduced New Compliance Strategy NCCS on the implementation of the Coastal and Inland Shipping Cabotage Act 2003 as part of efforts towards the actualising a meaningful growth in the volume and value coastal and inland trade regime in the country.

The Cabotage Act, which is protectionist legislation fashioned after the Jones Act 1920 of the United States provides that vessels and other crafts to be deployed for trade with the coastal and inland region would be owned, manned and built in Nigeria.

The enactment of the legislation was part of Federal Government’s response to the increasing foreign domination of activities in the country’s rich maritime industry, as it is believed that the indigenous shipping operators would learn with the coastal and inland trade while progressing to full deep sea shipping.

This is also in line with the agency’s quest to ensure full implementation of the Cabotage regime in Nigeria with a view to ensuring that Nigerians derive maximum benefits from the scheme.

Director General of the agency, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, who spoke in Lagos recently, disclosed that NIMASA, the nation’s apex maritime regulatory agency evolved the NCCS in order to secure jobs for qualified Nigerians in the maritime industry under the Cabotage regime.

He also stated further that with the NCCS regime, the agency shall no longer consider applications for grant of waiver on manning for prescribed categories of officers in vessels engaged in Cabotage trade.

“The era of foreign operators taking over jobs that should be reserved for qualified Nigerians in the maritime industry under the Cabotage regime is over. The NCCS will provide a new direction to the Cabotage regime as NIMASA will no longer consider applications to grant of waiver on manning requirements for vessels engaged in coastal trade with regards to second officer, second engineer, second mate down to able seamen, ratings and stewards”, he said.

The NIMASA DG also pointed out that special applications for Captains, Chief Engineers, Chief Officers, First Mate in the absence of qualified Nigerians shall be considered on merit, but on the condition that such organisation will make a plan to train a Nigerian and put in place a transition plan to ensure that the Nigerian takes over the job within one year.

He said that the whole essence of this was to ensure that Nigerians are not deprived of the jobs due them on showing requisite qualifications for the job.

He however assured stakeholders that the Agency will continue to work closely with them, adding that NIMASA will continue to support and promote indigenous participation in the Nigerian maritime sector.

The NIMASA DG also called on all relevant government agencies and International Oil Companies IOCs to collaborate with the agency in order to harness the opportunities available in the nation’s maritime space.

Recall that the DG NIMASA had at various events restated NIMASA’s commitment to all the ideals that will help grow the maritime industry, particularly strict implementation of the Cabotage Act and has continued to engage in collaborative efforts with stakeholders both locally and internationally, with a view to promoting a virile maritime industry where indigenous operators would have a larger chunk of the pie.