By Godfrey Bivbere
In a bid to ensure full implementation of the Cabotage Act, management of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has readÂ the riot act to International Oil and gas Companies (IOCs) which vessels providing services to them are not registered with the agency to do so or face the law.
The warning also affects all Floating Production and Storage Offshore vessels (FPSOs), Drilling Rigs and Mobile Production Platforms (as defined in Section 44 of the Merchant Shipping Act 2007 dealing with definitions) operating in the Nigeria waters that are not registered with NIMASA to comply with immediate effect.
The position of the agency was made known in LagosÂ by its Director-General, Temisan Omatseye, who said that all operators and stakeholders have a duty to abide by the law and should be seen to demonstrate high sense of responsibility by conducting their activities within the rules of engagement as spelt out by the law.
According to Omatseye, â€œIt has come to our attention that majority of the vessels providing marine services to International Oil and gas Companies in their upstream and downstream operations are not registered with NIMASA despite the clear position of the NIMASA/Cabotage Acts on this matter.
â€œAlso by the requirement of the Act, all Floating Production and Storage Offshore vessels, Drilling Rigs and Mobile Production Platforms operating in the Nigeria waters, are all required to be registered with NIMASA.â€
The NIMASA boss called on all the IOCs to immediately review their marine service contracting process in a manner that ensures that only fully compliant Cabotage vessels are contracted to provide marine services.
Omatseye charged them to also direct that all vessels already in their services but are not duly registered as required by the Act to immediately do so within a reasonable time frame from now.
He noted that as a national institution regulating maritime affairs in Nigeria, it is its primary responsibility to capture all vessels operating within Nigeriaâ€™s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEC) in the agencyâ€™s data bank.
It must be stated here that government has reviewed the progress so far made in the implementation of the Act and has taken fresh measures to reinforce not only the implementation of the provisions, but the enforcement of compliance at all levels of activity, he stated.
He noted that the key issues in our renewed effort to implement the Act are; a scheme for accelerated acquisition of Cabotage service trading assets, provision of critical maritime infrastructure to domesticate asset maintenance services and mass production of human capital to meet manning demand and other technical skills.