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NIMASA begins online verification of ship registration certificates

…Enforces marine environment protection regulations

The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), has begun the electronic verification of the new ship registration certificates, introduced on July 1, 2021.

These certificates now have Quick Response (QR) Codes in them to enable ship-owners, regulatory agencies’ enforcement officers and other stakeholders to verify them.

In addition, the agency also commenced full enforcement of the marine environment protection statutory requirements and documentation on Nigerian and foreign-flagged vessels operating within the nation’s maritime domain.

As a result, all ship-owners and operators are now required by law to update their vessel documentations, which include permits or exemptions, levies, record books and plan approvals.

According to a statement by Osagie Edward, assistant director, Public Relations of NIMASA, this has become a pre-condition for processing any vessel or company request with the Agency.

He stated that NIMASA would sanction operators that fail to comply with the requirement.

Read also: Deep Blue Sea: Nigeria, Korea collaborates on maritime security

“The new move is pursuant to the Agency’s statutory mandate to implement all provisions applicable to marine environment protection and documentation as enshrined in the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL), 1973; the Merchant Shipping Act, 2007; and the NIMASA Act 2007,” the statement reads.

Commenting, Bashir Jamoh, director general of NIMASA, said effective application of environmental protection regulations in the maritime domain was crucial to the nation’s quest for economic development.

“We are deliberate, methodical, and strategic in the enforcement of the environmental protection requirements as they relate to our own laws and international regulations that we acceded to. A well protected marine environment guarantees investor confidence, which is a basic necessity for the optimisation of our rich maritime endowments,” he explained.

According to him, NIMASA is enthroning a sound and sustainable marine environment protection system that serves the interests of both the country and operators.

On electronic verification of certificates, Jamoh said, the Agency has adopted technology to guarantee more security for ship documentation, and to give the international shipping community greater confidence in NIMASA’s services.

On her part, Nneka Obiayor, the registrar of ships, said security and business facilitation were the major considerations in the introduction of the electronic verification of new Ship Registry Certificates.

According to Obiayor, the aim goes beyond safety and security of ships to include ease of doing business, which is uppermost priority in the design and implementation of the electronic verification of the newly-introduced Ship Registry Certificates.

“With a blend of technology and creativity, we have introduced new features intended to make our ship registration certificates more secure and easier to process,” she added.

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