05 May 2013, Lagos – Despite agitation by operators in the Nigerian maritime sector against plan by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, to introduce what it called Sea Protection Levy, SPL, the agency says payment of the levy was compulsory for all vessels plying Nigerian waters.
Director, Marine Environment Management Department at NIMASA, Mrs Julian Gunwa, who disclosed this at a meeting with shipping companies in Lagos, said the agency was statutorily empowered to enforce collection of the levy.
According to Gunwa, “the Federal Government Official Gazette Number 158 Marine Environment Management Regulation 2012 empowers NIMASA to impose levies on all commercially operating vessels of 100 gross tonnages and above”.
She disclosed this in a paper at the meeting entitled, “Implementation of Marine Environment Management Regulations 52 and 53 on Sea Protection Levy and offshore Waste Reception Facilities”.
Any ship that defaulted in the payment of the levy might be detained by NIMASA at any port or jetty until it was paid, she said, adding: “SPL payable will be recovered in court by bringing legal action against the ship and its owner”.
Gunwa said, also, that all offshore installations would be required to pay offshore waste reception facility charges per annum ranging from one dollar to 1.50 dollars as she stated that NIMASA already had a vessel called ‘Jumbo Explorer’ that provided a framework on wastes generated from ships and offshore installations.
“Any violation committed to the non compliance of the offshore waste shall attract a fine of N10 million for individuals and N20 million for corporate bodies,” she said. She urged stakeholders to work together towards achieving a maritime environment management system in line with best international practices.
Mr Emeka Akabogua, the legal adviser to NIMASA, said that the legal framework and regulations were created to ensure enforcement of the legislation. “The legislation is international conventions to which Nigeria is a signatory and is only just trying to implement,” he said.