16 January 2014, Lagos – The Federal High Court in Lagos has issued a fresh hearing notice in a suit filed by the former Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Temisan Omatseye.
He is challenging the alleged deliberate sabotage of the Cabotage Act by the government by allowing foreign vessel owners to operate on Nigeria’s coastal waters fraudulently.
Omatseye, who sued through his company, Polmaz Nigeria Limited, joined the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the Pipelines and Product Marketing Company (PPMC) in the suit.
He claimed that government agencies have been undermining the provisions of the Cabotage Act to the detriment of Nigerian ship owners, arguing that foreign shipping companies have been operating on Nigeria’s coastal waters without obtaining licence or waivers from the Minister of Transport as required by the Cabotage Law.
He said the Coastal and Inland Shipping Act 2003, otherwise known as the Cabotage Act, was enacted to make trading on Nigeria’s territorial waters the exclusive preserve of Nigerian-flagged vessels.he law, however, provided for waivers for foreign vessels, but for a about a decade of the law’s existence, indigenous ship owners are yet to benefit from it as government agencies in the oil and gas industries have continued to “fraudulently” engage foreign companies in Nigerian waters under the disguise of the waivers.
When the matter came up yesterday before Justice Ibrahim Buba, the defendants were not represented in court, but Omatseye, a lawyer, represented his company.
The judge adjourned till February 18 for hearing after fresh hearing notices must have been issued to parties.
– The Nation