Navy To Stop Burning Vessels, Urges NIMASA To Expedite Action on AIS Violations

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By DAPO OLAWUNI

Flowing from series of complaints about the Nigerian Navy burning vessels alleged to be ferrying stolen crude oil, the Flag Officer Commanding Western Naval Command of Nigerian Navy, Rear Admiral Mustapha Hassan has agreed that it was not proper for the Navy to burn vessels.

Hassan stated this at a stakeholders interactive meeting with the Director General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Dr Dayo Mobereola in Lagoa on Thursday.

He assured that the Navy is already tinkering on other workable models for handling vessels arrests, one of which he hinted that the vessel could still be allowed to be trading while in court, given the delicate nature of the vessel and considering that it is capital is capital intensive business.

“I strongly agree with you that we shouldn’t be burning vessels, we have models on the table that we are trying to push forward, when you keep a vessel for too long, it tends to go bad (out of class) there are models we are thinking about, including, when the vessel is in court, the owner can continue managing the vessel, we have about three formulars on ground and we want to see how it would work” he said

The FoC stressed the need for NIMASA and Navy to collaborate towards boarding and Inspection of vessels, adding that the implementation of the Cabotage Act by NIMASA has not be effective.

While addressing the newly appointed NIMASA DG, Hassan said there is a need for inter-agency collaboration in the cabotage regime to address issues of boarding and inspection of vessels, especially with the Automatic Identification System (AIS) which most vessels deliberately switch off, and which is a major violation.

“There are many things, there are fines and money to be made while implementing the Cabotage Act and there is a need to hit the ground running. I have seen your strides already and I have no doubt.

“We have already done our bits already doing our best in terms of enforcement, but I also need NIMASA to treat these cases expeditiously, whenever we handover a case to you for AIS infringement, we don’t expect you to keep that vessel for a month or more”

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