DG NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside

The Nigerian Ship owners Association NISA, has thrown its full weight behind the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency NIMASA, in its renewed zeal to ensure full implementation of the Cabotage Act, 2003.

The agency had recently issued New Cabotage Compliance Strategy NCCS, as part of efforts to ensure that the relevant provisions of the act were strictly complied with by stakeholders.

Lagos State coordinator of the association, Captain Taiwo Akinpelumi who visited the agency, stated that the association is pleased with the direction NIMASA is heading towards the full realisation of the aims and objectives of the Cabotage regime, which is to increase indigenous participation in coastal shipping activities.

According to him, NISA as a body shares in the vision of the regulatory body to reposition the maritime industry for greater efficiency and productivity, and therefore called for continuous partnership so that professionals can bring to the table their professional expertise in assisting NIMASA realise its full mandate.

“Ship owners are the essence of NIMASA, without ship owners there will be no NIMASA and without NIMASA, there will be no ship owners. So we have a reason to interact even a lot more than we are doing and that is why we are here”, the coordinator said.

He also assured that the ship owners will always work with the agency to support its vision of ensuring full enforcement of the legislation, arguing that both parties are the two wings of the bird since no bird can fly with only one wing.

Meanwhile, the Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, who played host to the ship owners, extolled the role of Nigerian ship owners to the maritime industry, describing them as key players to the sustenance and survival of the nation’s maritime industry.

He further described the NISA delegation as a set of knowledgeable experts whose wealth of experience will be needed in helping the Agency realize its mandates as regards Cabotage implementation as enshrined in the NIMASA Act 2007.

“NIMASA will continue to give the necessary support to the association and will continue to engage in fruitful collaborative meetings, geared towards realising a virile maritime industry”.

“Similarly, aside from Cabotage, NIMASA will look at the areas the indigenous ship owners have exclusivity such as lighterage because the agency is concluding plans to put mechanisms in place to ensure that it works”, he said.

It was however gathered that in the light of this, the agency will take another look at the Memorandum of Understanding MoU the agency signed with NISA many years ago and review it and look at the possibility of revisiting it.

He also said: “We are pushing it back to you as a task and we believe that you will come with very useful suggestions on the way forward”, the DG said.

Other issues addressed include multiple charges in the industry among other salient matters which both parties have agreed to work on.

NIMASA had through its Cabotage Compliance Strategy NCCS meant to encourage indigenous participation, suspended waiver on applications on vessel manning for prescribed categories of officers in vessels engaged in coastal trade.