Following its zero tolerance on granting manning waivers, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) increased the number of vessels owned by Nigerians by 33 percent between January-June 2018, says NIMASA 2018 half year report.
The number of vessels registered by the agency to fly the Nigerian flag rose to 125 from the 94 vessels registered in 2017, according to the report.
According to the half-year report released by the agency, which was sighted by BusinessDay, vessels manned by Nigerians within the period under review also increased as a total of 2,840 Nigerian officers and ratings were recommended to be placed on-board Cabotage vessels in 2018.
This represents a 58 percent increase as against 1,789 Nigerian seafarers recommended by the agency to be placed on-board Cabotage vessels in the same period in 2017.
With this, there seems to be an increase in indigenous participation on Cabotage vessels manning, ownership building and registration, and NIMASA attributed this gradual growth to zero tolerance on granting manning waivers.
Also, within the period under review, the agency also introduced electronic software for vessels monitoring and investigation especially monitoring vessels on Nigerian territorial waters.
Commenting, Dakuku Peterside, director-general of NIMASA, said the agency had been able to improve interface with the Nigeria Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) leading to a harmonised marine vessel categorisation standards to deliver a common database. “We have increased Port State and Flag State inspections leading to significant reduction of sub-standard vessels on our waters,” he said.
“In the past two years, we have increased the number of vessels surveyed to ensure compliance to Flag State or Port State vessels. There has been tremendous increase, which has more than doubled, compared to what used to happen in the past,” said Peterside in a recent interview with newsmen.
According to him, NIMASA had issued about 1,200 Certificates of Competency (CoCs) but in the past two years alone, it had exceeded 2,300 CoCs, almost twice the number of CoCs issued in the previous period, comparatively.
“Issuance of Certificate of Competency to seafarers comes under our moderation because we examine and moderate seafarers to ensure that Nigerian seafarers can compete with the best anywhere in the world,” he added.
On manpower development, he said NIMASA had through the Nigerian Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP) invested in the training of many cadets while 1600 cadets are at various stages of completion of the programme, and 887 of which are ready for sea-time training.
“We are currently tackling the issue of sea time head-on; via full sponsorship. With the full sponsorship of seatime by NIMASA, about 150 cadets have commenced their on-board seatime training in phase 1 while another group of 89 cadets are now on-board training vessels facilitated by the South Tyneside College, UK, making a total of 239 cadets in the first phase of this programme,” he disclosed.
On getting more Nigerian vessels participate in Cabotage trade, NIMASA had commenced talks with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) on affreightment of Nigerian crude oil.
“Everywhere in the world, countries that are selling crude prefer Cost, Insurance and Freight as terms of trade while countries that are buying the crude prefer Free on Board (FoB), but in Nigeria it is the other way.
“This was why we commenced engagement with the NNPC to change the terms of trade from FOB to CIF and we had far reaching conversation on the issue. We have agreed to set up a technical committee that is made up of stakeholders, NIMASA as regulator, other regulatory agencies and NNPC itself, which we have done and we hope something positive will come out of this,” he assured.