By DAPO OLAWUNI
The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has said that Nigeria has beat South Africa and Egypt to emerge as the largest ship tonnage in Africa next to Liberia.
Director General of NIMASA, Dr Dakuku Peterside stated this last weekend at a press conference, attributing it to the Tonnage of Ships reportedly published by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in 2019 .
According to him, Nigeria could technically be referee to as the largest ship registrar in Africa, but that Liberia emerged first because it was operating an open registry.
Peterside noted that the NIMASA ship registry experienced a spike in vessels registration in 2019.
He informed that NIMASA is now changing its ship registry certificates to include some security features to make sure the certificates are no longer forged and that it could now be verified online.
He also said that NIMASA would be opening a second ship register in addition to its existing register.
“Last year the IMO published the tonnage of ships and ships registration in various countries, I am very pleased to say that Liberia came tops in Africa, but Liberia operates an open registry which means that vessels that have never called at Liberia can be registered in their register, but ours is a closed registry which means that at one time or the other the vessel must be in Nigeria”
“In terms of tonnage, Nigeria has emerged as number two in the whole of Africa, next to Liberia, technically it means that we are number one, this is IMO record that can be verified, it used to be Egypt and South Africa, today Nigeria has the biggest tonnage apart from Liberia and South Africa”
“We have started a lot of reforms in the ship registry, first is that we are changing our certificate to include a number of security features, the certificates can no longer be forged, it can now be verified online”
“In the next one month, we would formally present the certificate with new security features and we are going to show you some of the distinct features”
“It would carry some chips that when placed under light, it would reflect.
The idea is that we don’t want our ship registry certificate to be subjected to whether it is genuine or not”
“We are also automating all the processes in our ship registry, without coming close to NIMASA, you can submit all documents online and the provisional certificate will be issued to you online”
“We are considering opening a second register that is open to international shipping community.
“We are getting international ISO certification for the ship registry office. Our dream is to compete with the British and Singaporean registry” Peterside said