07 August 2016, Lagos – The Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside, has stated that he will ensure that the Coastal and Inland Shipping Act 2003, also known as the Cabotage Act, is fully implemented.
Peterside stated this when he received the leadership of the Nigeria Merchant Navy Officers and Water Transport Senior Staff Association led by the National President, Matthew Alalade at the agency’s headquarters in Lagos.
He stated that Nigerians must always be encouraged to be key players in the sector ad that the issue of abuse of waivers would be checked.
According to him, “We have not realised the full potential of the Cabotage Act but we have moved a step ahead. Just to be sure that we are committed to the full implementation of the Cabotage Act, issues relating to waiver abuse are currently being dealt with accordingly.”
Dakuku also said that the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF) would only be disbursed to people that would put it into the use for which it is intended adding applicants must have the requisite criteria as beneficiaries.
“We will rigorously screen the applicants of the CVFF in order to ensure that the funds are disbursed to people who would use it for the purposes the funds are meant for, “he added.
The NIMASA boss also stated that the agency is currently screening maritime institutions across the country and would only accredit the ones that can provide the maritime training required in line with global best practices.
Peterside, however, noted that NIMASA is not in a position to recognise any Merchant Navy Association as that function falls under the purview of the National Assembly.
Earlier, the association, which decried the abuse of waivers in the implementation of the Cabotage Act, also requested the agency to find ways of reviewing the Act to pave the way for indigenous operators to be more involved in coastal and inland trade in Nigeria.
The association also sought greater collaboration with NIMASA especially in the areas of maritime regulatory decision making and human capacity building for the growth and development of the industry.
In a bid to woo shipping companies to Nigeria and increase revenue for the federal government, Peterside had recently assured the international shipping community and stakeholders of the country’s determination to eliminate piracy and criminality within her territorial waters.
Peterside stated this while addressing multilateral and development agencies on the sidelines of the on-going IMO/MOWCA sponsored integrated sub regional coast Guard function network in Brussels, Belgium.
Also, he noted that Nigeria is working with both local and international counter piracy partners to eliminate criminality on her waterways.
According to Peterside, “We have a close working relationship with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes (UNODC) in order to foster an integrated approach to dealing with the menace. We have also increased surveillance and have deployed world class maritime domain awareness assets in conjunction with the Nigeria Navy and the Nigeria Ports Authority to monitor our maritime environment.”
The NIMASA boss said that in addition, the country has deployed Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) in collaboration with the Nigerian Air Force as well as other naval assets to patrol and monitor the country’s waterways.
He observed that as a signatory to all IMO instruments and regulations relating to maritime security, Nigeria is committed to their compliance in order to eliminate piracy and criminality on the high seas.
- This Day