Kunle Kalejaye 15 April 2015, Sweetcrude, Lagos – The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has extended the phase-out date for single-hull tankers by five years, with the new date now December 31, 2020.
NIMASA in statement signed by the Deputy Director/Head Public Relations, Mr. Isichei Osamgbi, noted that decision to extend the phase-out date was taken in line with the provision of the International Maritime Organisation, IMO which allows member states who do not have the capacity to replace their existing single hull tanker fleet to extend the phase out date of certain categories of tankers in their countries, provided the vessels do not engage in international trade.
Although IMO had earlier said that the single-hull tankers in Nigeria would end in 2015.
But NIMASA in the statement noted that over 80 percent of all Nigerian tankers are currently single hull, adding that it recognised the factors constraining Nigerian ship owners from replacing all existing single hull tanker fleet by 2015, which necessitated the extension.
Futher explaining the reasons behind the extention date, Director General of NIMASA, Dr Ziakede Patrick Akpobolokemi quoted in the issued statement said that the decision to extend the initial deadline was to sustain the development of the Nigerian maritime industry and enhance the gains of the Cabotage laws and local content Act.
“Our decision to extend the final phase-out date for all single hull tankers registered under the Nigerian flag administration toDecember 31, 2020 was to give more time for fleet replacement by Nigerian ship owners and also develop greater capacity to handle scrapping of vessels in the country,” he explained.
The statement also added that under the new arrangement, all renewal certificates to be issued during the extension period will be for only two years, and such vessels must not be more than 35 years by the end of 2015.
“This is contrary to the existing five-year tenure for renewal of certificates, while registration of new single hull tankers has ceased henceforth.
“All tankers that will benefit from this extension must possess valid classification and statutory certificates, including a valid Condition Assessment Scheme certificate issued by NIMASA, and they are not permitted to engage in international trade as their certificate extension only covers trade within Nigerian waters.
“It should also be noted that only Nigerian registered Single Hull tankers are allowed to benefit from this extension. All foreign registered Single Hull tankers are therefore not allowed to trade in Nigerian waters with effect from 1st May, 2015.
“The Agency will organise a maritime stakeholders’ forum to further clarify concerns on its directive on the phase-out schedule for single hull tankers in Nigeria,” the statement explained.