Lagos — In a bid to enhance the Ease of Doing Business in the maritime sector, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, yesterday commenced its online ship registration process in Lagos.
Disclosing this during a stakeholders’ interactive session with ship-owners, Director-General of NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, said the Agency has acquired software licence for the automation of the Nigerian Ship Registry, which is rated by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) as the second largest in Africa, by tonnage, after Liberia, and 46th in the world.
He also said that automation was the only way to boost the worth of the registry and quicken business processes.
The agency boss also disclosed that in 2018 and 2019, the Nigerian registry attracted two high index capacity vessels – Egina FPSO and MT Ultimate.
He stated that NIMASA was confident that a lot more could be done to assist Nigerians in acquiring vessels, hence its intensified effort to ensure the disbursement of the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF). He stated that the Agency was in partnership with the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) to drive capacity in the maritime industry.
He said”:”Our principal aim is to achieve online electronic registration, accept electronic copies of documents and issue electronic certificates. Our goal as a Maritime Safety Administration is to create a world class Ship Registry, which will be attractive to shipowners with the aim of maintaining the influence of Nigeria in evolving international commercial and regulatory environment for shipping.”
He further disclosed that NIMASA has also commenced moves to audit the register of Nigerian vessels, redesigning and producing new ship registry certificates, and automation of the ship registry just as it it are upgrading the ship registry filing facility, review of ship registration guidelines, and ISO 9001: 2015 Certification.
Dakuku noted that some of the biggest ship registries in the world, such as the UK Ship Register, currently maintained a second or international register to attract tonnage, while using the closed register to develop indigenous capacity. To that end, he said the Agency was considering establishing a second register to help grow Nigerian fleet and enhance the country’s role in international commercial trade.
The DG called on stakeholders to assist the Agency’s new computerisation initiative saying that “Our esteemed stakeholders, whilst keeping our eyes firmly fixed on the objective of building a world class Ship Registry, we hope to rely on your guidance, experience, industry know-how and cooperation to endow the desperately needed credence and international respect for the Nigerian Flag.”
In his presentation, a governing council member of the Nigerian Content Development & Monitoring Board (NCDMB) Mr. Mina Oforiokuma noted that technically, Nigeria’s registry was the largest in Africa.
Oforiokuma said this was based on the fact that Liberia operated an open registry, domiciled in the United States of America. More so, most of the vessels registered in Nigeria trade in Africa, he stated.
Speaking in similar vein, the Chairman of the Ship Registry Committee, Engr. Emmanuel Ilori, urged NIMASA to set clear timelines for the administrative process of ship registration and put in place precise change in flag instructions.
Ilori advised the Agency to ensure that qualified tonnage measures were employed to serve in the safety department. He commended NIMASA’s drive to enshrine full automation of all ship registration processes, revealing that it is one of the recommendations of the Ship Registry Review Committee.