18 December 2012, Sweetcrude, Lagos – Chevron Nigeria Limited, CNL, may have backed down on its refusal to recognise two of the six names on the list of classification societies recently approved by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA
Chevron had refused to recognise two Classification Societies approved by the NIMASA, a development that had pitched the affected classification societies against Chevron, thereby placing the oil major on a potential war path with the nation’s apex maritime regulatory agency.
NIMASA had in a Marine Notice published June this year given recognition to six classification societies, namely: American Bureau of Shipping (ABS), Bureau Veritas (BV), Det Norske Veritas (DNV), Lloyds Register (LR), International Naval Survey Bureau (INSB), and International Register of Shipping (IRS).
However, a counter Marine Notice to NIMASA from Chevron omitted the INSB and the IRS from the list of classification societies recognised by the oil company.
Among those recognised in the Chevron’s Marine Notice to NIMASA were China Classification Society (CCS), Dek Norske Veritas (DNV), Germanischer Lloyd (GL), Korean Register of Shipping (KRS), Nippon Kaiji Kyokai (NK), Registro Italiano Navale (RINA), Russian Maritime Register of Shipping (RS), Indian Register of Shipping (IRS), Croatian Register of Shipping (CRS) and Polish Register of Shipping (PRS).
The Chevron Notice was signed by one Philip Rafferty, Marine Expert and Senior Compliance Manager, Upstream Marine Assurance.
Ironically, Chevron in the notice, claimed it will “support and promote the initiatives of NIMASA and NCDMB (Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board).” But many Nigerian owned ships are classified by INSB and IRS.
When contacted, Managing Director of the INSB, Engr. Akin Olaniyan, said that Chevron which a private entity cannot determine the classification societies that should be recognised. Olaniyan explained that it is only a country’s flag administrator that is empowered to determined classification societies.
In his words: “Which marine notice? Chevron a private body is giving marine notice to a flag administrator like NIMASA does it make sense? Now if a company XYZ Nigeria limited now comes out and says all the marine notices given by NIMASA that we do not want them will they still have credence to their name? Certainly not, marine notice is only being issued by the flag administration for ships that fly those flags.
“For instance, a Panama flag cannot be recognised in Nigeria. For Nigerian vessels that fly the Nigerian flag, the marine notice that can be issue to them will be from the flag administration. Don’t forget that Chevron is just a company. Chevron has decided to go that way, fine for them but they should realise that they are in Nigeria; I don’t want to bother because the flag administrator is the final arbiter.
“If your company decides to have a ship and decides to have XYZ class that is your own good luck. The point is that I don’t like joining issues with such companies because these are clear things on ground. The flag administrator has said this, any other company that says anything contrary I will not join issues with it.”