Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Dakuku Peterside has said that the agency would soon take delivery of the 5th largest modular floating dockyard on the African continent.
This is even as the agency has assured that it will expedite action on the passage of the anti-piracy bill at the national assembly for enactment as part of NIMASA’s effort to ensure a safer maritime domain.
Speaking at a press conference in Lagos where he presented the scorecard of his one year in office, Dakuku said the dockyard will save the federal government $100million annually from dry docking of vessels operating in Nigeria.
According to him, the agency will, in partnership with the private sector, run the drydock. He said the agency had equally received the President’s approval to acquire assets that will be deployed at strategic locations with a view to improving its ability on safety of vessels within the country’s maritime domain.
“We have brought piracy case to its lowest in the past one year in partnership with our regional partners. We recorded less than four successful pirates attack.
“We have a total of about 11 pirates’ cases, six were foiled and less thanfour succeeded.
“Piracy is a global problem. We have brought maritime accident to its barest minimum in the past 365 days. A time was when we used to record as much as 40 to 50 maritime accidents on our waterways but in the past one year, we recorded less than 10 maritime accidents and that was at the centre of our mandate,” he said.
On capacity development for indigenous ship owners, Dakuku said NIMASA was pushing for the change of trade term from Free On Board (FOB) to Cost Insurance and Freight (CIF) to involve indigenous operators in Nigerian cargo affreightment and to raise revenue for the government.
According to him, plans are in top gear to use the existing enabling laws to make public cargo available for indigenous shipping operators in order to improve their commercial fortunes and competitive advantage over their foreign counterparts.
He also assured that the agency would disburse the Cargo Vessel Finance Fund (CVFF) but was reviewing the enabling regulations to avoid errors that might arise from hasty disbursement.
“The issue of CVFF is one we have taken a critical look at and I can categorically say that we are addressing the issues militating against the fund being fully operational and accessible.
“A lot of progress has been made on the cabotage regime as over 60 percent of workers onboard vessels operating under the cabotage regime are now Nigerians as against 12 percent before the cabotage regime came into being in 2003,” he declared.
He added that over 60 percent of vessels doing business in Nigeria waters are flying the Nigerian flag as against 3 percent in 2003.
The NIMASA boss said the Nigerian Flag has also enjoyed significant growth within the last twelve months. He said while 262 vessels with a total tonnage of 232,000 GRT were registered in 2015, 370 vessels with a total tonnage of 420, 000 GRT were registered in 2016.
He added that the agency in conjunction with the International Maritime Organization (IMO) will be hosting the 3rd conference of the Association of African Maritime Administrations in line with IMO policy in assisting and enhancing the capacity of maritime administrations in Africa in implementation of IMO instruments.
On the anti-piracy bill, the NIMASA DG said that if the bill is passed, Nigeria will become the first country among maritime nations with such a bill.