• Monday, May 27, 2024
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NIMASA, shipping firms partner to achieve cleaner ocean

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In its bid to avoid indiscriminate discharge of ship-generated wastes into the marine environment, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) is collaborating with shipping companies operating in Nigerian waters to effectively implement the newly gazetted sea protection levy and offshore waste reception facilities.

The implication for shipping companies is that both foreign and Nigerian flagged vessels that have 100 gross tonnage (GT) and above, more than 24 meters in length and have not less than 10 tons of oil on board are expected to pay Sea Protection Levy and Offshore Waste Reception Facilities levy depending on the capacity of the vessel.

Nigerian flagged vessels are expected to pay the SPL in Naira once a year (annually) and the payment is as follows: From 100-1000 metric tons (MT) will pay N500 per GT; from 1001-10000 MT will pay 350 per GT; from 10001-100,000MT will pay N300 per GT while vessels from 100,000 and above MT will pay 250 per GT.

However, the foreign flagged vessels are expected to pay their SPL in dollars at every call (per call) and the payment is scheduled as follows: From 100-1000 metric tons (MT) of vessels are to pay $0.1 per GT; from 1001-10000MT is to pay $0.15 per GT, from 10001-100,000 MT vessels are to pay $0.2 per GT while those from 100,000 MT and above will pay $0.3 per GT.

Speaking at the NIMASA/shipping companies stakeholders sensitisation forum in Lagos recently, Patrick Akpolokemi, director-general, NIMASA said that there is the need for Nigeria to achieve a sustainable development of its marine environment management system by putting in place a self-funding mechanism that preserves and protects it against oil pollution, degradation and the destruction of the ecosystem with its attendants economic implications.

The NIMASA boss, who was represented by the agency’s executive director, Maritime Safety and Shipping Development, Ezekiel Agaba said that the interactive session was organised by the agency to facilitate effective implementation of marine protection regulations in the interest of all stakeholders.

“It would be recalled that the Federal Government recently ratified the Marine Pollution Convention which is the major instrument of the International Maritime Agency (IMO) on the prevention of pollution of the marine environment. The convention was thereafter domesticated into the national law in June 2012 through the gazette of the Marine Environment Management Regulations among which was the Sea Protection Levy (SPL) and Merchant Shipping Regulations”.

In his own remarks, Agaba said the IMO in response to indiscriminate discharge of ship-generated wastes into the marine environment adopted the International Convention of the Prevention of pollution from ships (MARPOL) Convention, which covers six annexes and has regulations stipulating various methods by which member states, ship owners, operators and maritime stakeholders should implement its provisions in order to prevent and control marine incidents/pollution emanating from ships and offshore installations.

He noted that oil pollution of the sea was recognised as a major problem and various countries have introduced national regulations to control discharges of oil within their territorial waters.

Julian Abiodun Gunwa, head, Marine Environment Management Department of NIMASA, said during her presentation that there has been minimal and haphazard monitoring of polluters on the nation’s territorial waters due to lack of facilities and equipment to enhance monitoring.

She said if this is allowed to continue unchecked, it would adversely affect the socio-economic conditions of the Nigerian populace. She further said that NIMASA has engaged the services of a private firm in a Public Private Partnership arrangement to provide the needed platforms to facilitate a better monitoring of possible polluters on the nation’s waters.

Gunwa explained that any default of payment of the SPL by any shipping company will lead to detention of the ship by the agency at any port or jetty until the levy is paid.