By Godwin Oritse
The management of the NLNG Ship Management Limited, NSML, the shipping arm of the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas, NLNG, has given reason for putting its vessels in the Bermudian Ship Registry instead of the Nigerian Ship Registry.
Ahmed said that none of the NLNG-NSML vessels is Nigerian flagged as the acquisition of the vessels were through international funding adding that there were also conditions tied to funding these acquisitions.
NSML boss explained that the flagging or registration of vessels in Nigeria is the desire of the shipping firm but the regulation and other factors to make that work in Nigeria must be in place such that it also must be internationally accepted.
According to him, the financiers insisted the vessels must be flagged in an internationally accepted Ship Registry recognized by Lloyds listed flag state.
He stated: ‘‘There is a reason for not having these vessels registered in Nigeria and that is because the financials of these vessels give condition and some of the condition is to ensure that these vessels are flagged in internationally recognized Lloyds listed Ship Registries.
‘‘The sailors that will crew the vessels must have trainings that are of international standard and from maritime institutions whose certificate is also accepted worldwide.
‘‘We are collaborating with the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, to build and develop capacity for the regulatory agency in Nigeria to ensure that its Registry is recognized and accepted; it is work in progress.
‘‘Most important to shipping companies is that your vessels to be accepted everywhere they go.
‘‘The flagging of vessels in Nigeria is a desire, it is an objective, it is a national objective and we at NMSL are happy to key into that but it requires a lot of work, it requires all hands to be on deck to ensure that we work together to build that agency where the Nigerian flag will be accepted internationally.
‘‘We are working together with all the stakeholders to ensure that we actually achieve that goal. It is a process that has started and we believe that with the current management of NIMASA, we have started discussions and a body has been set up on the Nigerian Flag and we are contributing to that.’’