NIMASA impounds LPG vessel, says no more Cabotage waivers

The MT Navigator Capricorn arrested in Nigeria for breaking the country’s Cabotage law. Inset: The Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dakuku Peterside.

The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) on Sunday said it would no longer consider applications for waivers in implementation of the nation’s Coastal and Inland Shipping Act (2003), otherwise known as the Cabotage Law. This is even as it said it impounded a Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) carrier named MT Navigator Capricorn for breakings the Cabotage Law.

NIMASA Director-General, Dr Dakuku Peterside, said the arrest of the ship and clampdown on over vessels became necessary after several warnings.

The MT Navigator Capricorn, he said, was first boarded in October 2018 and all infractions of Cabotage non-compliance were noted and communicated accordingly to the charterer/owners representatives with 90 days grace period to comply. He said the 90 days expired on Jan. 31, 2019.

“It is noteworthy that owners made undertaking to remedy the notable infractions when the vessel was issued a detention warning in October 2018,” Peterside said.

MT Navigator Capricorn had been moved to Lagos Anchorage to allow space for other LPG vessels to discharge at the NOJ Jetty.

Peterside said NIMASA would no longer encourage the application of any form of waivers under the Cabotage Act.

He said particularly from the oil firms operations, such waiver does not help the growth of the Nigerian maritime sector and economy at large.

“Our laws forbid foreign vessels operating in our territorial waters save for compliance with the Cabotage Act.

“There shall be no sacred cow when we commence clampdown on erring vessels.

“We want to increase the number of Nigerians who participate in the marine aspect of our business.

“We are working closely with the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) to have a joint categorisation of vessels operating under the Cabotage Act in order to ensure the full implementation of the Act,” Peterside said.

He said NIMASA was currently engaging the owners and charterers of the vessel on the need to comply with the laws of the land.

“You will also recall that in August 2018, NIMASA introduced a new compliance strategy for cabotage implementation in Nigeria to ensure full implementation of the Cabotage Act, 2003 to secure jobs for qualified Nigerians in the maritime sector,” he said.

He said NIMASA will no longer consider application for granting of waivers on manning requirements for vessels engaged in coastal trade with regards to second officer, second engineer, second mate down to able seamen, ratings and stewards.