The Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dakuku Peterside, has said that about 7,000 Nigerians have so far been placed onboard vessels for employment by the agency in last few months.
Peterside who spoke yesterday at a stakeholders forum organised by the Alumni of Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron (AMANO) said the level of Nigerians employed onboard vessels increased when NIMASA started a process of cessation of granting of waivers to foreign shipowners.
He also assured that NIMASA would create incentive for investors who are going to build vessels in Nigeria, saying that no agency would be allowed to import vessels from outside, they must patronize vessels built in Nigeria.
The theme of the AMANO event was; ‘Cabotage Act: 16 years After, What Have We Achieve’
On this, Peterside admitted that the Cabotage Law has been seriously abused over the years and this has forced NIMASA to begin implementation of the new Cabotage Compliance Strategy.
According to him, “NIMASA alone cannot achieve the aspirations, intents and objectives of the Cabotage Act. I believe that we have not done very well but there is need for improvement. The greatest thing that can happen to us to achieve the Cabotage law is collaboration and cooperation”
“If we leave NIMASA to drive the Cabotage law, till tomorrow, we will not achieve anything. But if the regulator, stakeholder and industry all come together, that is the only way we can achieve the aspiration of the Cabotage law.”
“We have started a process of cessation of granting of waivers which all of us agreed has been abused over time. In the area of manning, we have put in place what we call the new Cabotage compliance strategy. In the past few months, we have had 7,000 Nigerians placed on board vessel. That is the highest record we have had from the inception of the Cabotage regime till date because there is a determined programme not to grant waivers.
“We are going to create incentive for those who are going to build vessels in-country. Our sister agencies will not bring vessels from outside, they must patronize vessels built in Nigeria and we as NIMASA will lead by example.
“On importation of certain categories of vessels, we have gotten the buy-in of Customs, Central Bank, NNPC and other stakeholders because certain categories of vessels cannot be built outside this country by the end of next year,” he said.