The recent moves by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to ensure full implementation of the Cabotage Act, 2003 through the New Cabotage Compliance Strategy (NCCS) has continued to receive commendation from Stakeholders.
This is coming on the heels of the visit to the Agency by the Nigerian Ship owners Association (NISA) led by the Lagos State Coordinator, Captain Taiwo Akinpelumi who stated that the association is pleased with the direction NIMASA is heading towards the full realization of the Cabotage regime.
Akinpelumi stated that NISA as a body shares in the vision of the regulatory body to reposition the maritime sector for greater efficiency and productivity, hence the call for continuous partnership so that they as professionals can bring to the table their professional expertise in assisting NIMASA realize its full mandate.
“Ship owners are the essence of NIMASA, without ship owners there will be no NIMASA and without NIMASA, there will be no ship owners. So we have a reason to interact even a lot more than we are doing and that is why we are here”, Captain Taiwo stated.
Accordingly he stated that the body will always work together with the Agency.“NIMASA is there for us and we are there for NIMASA. We are the two wings of the bird because no bird can fly with only one wing”, he averred.
Meanwhile, the Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside extolled the role of ship owners to the maritime sector, describing them as key players to the sustenance and survival of the Nigerian maritime sector.
He further described the NISA delegation as a set of knowledgeable experts whose wealth of experience will be needed in helping the Agency realize its mandates as regards Cabotage implementation as enshrined in the NIMASA Act.
Accordingly, the DG stated that the Agency will give the necessary support to the association and will continue to engage in fruitful collaborative meetings, geared towards realizing a virile maritime industry.
He also assured the body that aside from Cabotage, the Agency will look at areas of having exclusivity for Nigerian ship owners such as lighterage and that the Agency is poised to put mechanisms in place to ensure that it works.
“We will look at the MoU we had with NISA many years ago and review it and look at the possibility of revisiting it. We are pushing it back to you as a task and we believe that you will come with very useful suggestions on the way forward”, the DG said.
Other issues addressed include multiple charges in the industry among other salient matters which both parties have agreed to work on.
It may be recalled that the Agency recently through the New NIMASA Cabotage Compliance Strategy (NCCS) meant to encourage indigenous participation, suspended waiver on applications on vessel manning for prescribed categories of officers in vessels engaged in coastal trade.