From left: Chairman, Committee on Review of Ship Registration, Engr. Emmanuel Ilori, presents report to Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside in Lagos, Monday.

The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency NIMASA, has said it will leave no stone unturned in its desire to reform the nation’s ship registry, which is currently unattractive and uncompetitive with a view to making it world class and globally acceptable.

The agency had on February 27, 2018 set up a seven-man Committee on Review of Nigeria’s Ship Registry, drawn from industry’s best brains across disciplines and headed by Engr. Emmanuel Ilori, which toured world’s best maritime destinations to understudy their ship registry with a view to reforming Nigeria’s and making it globally competitive and acceptable.

This was in response to several years of neglect of the nation’s ship registry, a development that made even Nigerian ship owners including the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas NLNG to fly foreign flags, because they lack confidence in the registry.

Director General of the agency, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, who officially received the report on behalf of the executive management in Lagos, Monday, disclosed that he has gone through the preliminary section of the report and is satisfied with the work of the committee.

The DG disclosed that the journey towards the reform of the nation’s ship registry began when the immediate past Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi set up a committee to reform NIMASA in particular and the maritime industry in general, after which the agency under his watch saw the urgent need to reform the nation’s ship registry to make it world class and globally acceptable.  

According to him, the executive management of the agency will undertake a brief consultation within itself, which will lead to the emergence of an implementation committee, with a view to commencing vigorous implementation of the recommendations of the committee without any further waste of time, assuring that within the next one year, stakeholders will have a new world class ship registry for Nigeria.

The DG said: “I will make two commitments here; the first is that we will pursue vigorous implementation of the recommendations in the report.  The second commitment is that in the next few months, we will also be pursuing vigorously international standards and certification for Nigeria’s ship registry, as you are aware, we are going into ISO90012015 and we believe that any moment from now, we will be certified and that makes us the first in West Africa to bag ISO certification”.

He argued that the idea of seeking international standards and certification is that it will make the country become the first ship registry in the continent of Africa to earn a five star international standard certification, insisting that these commitments would materialise in the next one year.

The DG, who fielded questions from newsmen, noted that the economic benefits of a world class ship registry are enormous, as it will enhance the respect, integrity and reputation of the nation’s flag, expose Nigerian ships flying the flag to cheap funds from the international finance market, provide training berths for Nigerian cadets as well as give international bodies such as the P&I Club to underwrite Nigerian ships’ risk, among several others.

Chairman of the committee, Engr. Ilori had while briefing the NIMASA management on the processes that led to the final report, disclosed that the committee had to meet with relevant members of staff of the agency, some indigenous ship owners and other stakeholders who gave the committee insights on the challenges faced by the current registry.

It was however gathered that the committee had visited countries like Norway, Singapore, United Kingdom and the United States of America, who opened up and volunteered information on how to reform and boost Nigeria’s ship registry.

In attendance at the event were President of Nigerian Ship Owners Association NISA, Alhaji Aminu Umar, President Ship Owners Association of Nigeria SOAN Dr. Mc-George Onyung, President Master Mariners, Capt. Tajudeen Alao, Former DG of NIMASA, Temi Omatseye, and President of Association of Marine Engineers and Surveyors AMES, Charles Uwadia, among others.