Following complaints by the Shipping Trade Group (STG) Warri, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has said that its zonal headquarters will soon be empowered to begin issuing papers for vessel clearance to end the delay and increased cost associated with the process, as operators currently have to come to Lagos to obtain papers for vessel clearance.
During an interaction with cabotage operators in Warri, the Director-General of NIMASA, Dr Dakuku Peterside also said where they exist in Warri, vessel surveyors can be certified to undertake vessel surveying on behalf of the agency, instead of sending them from Lagos with its attendant cost of logistics and welfare.
General Secretary of STG Warri, Obioma Ochulor had raised complaints and issues bordering on delay and increased cost in obtaining vessel clearance, which requires that the operators must always come to Lagos. Ochulor complained that most times, shipping operators would need to come to Lagos several times, spending money for transport and losing man hours.
He also complained that sometimes, vessels are accosted on their way by NIMASA officials who demand for Sea Protection Levy (SPL) from the vessels even when the ship captains are yet to meet with their agents.
Dakuku however assured that all issues hindering cabotage operations would be addressed as his management is bent on ensuring that the indigenous shipping sector comes up clear to advance the country’s shipping sector and economy.
“In the next few weeks things will change drastically for the operators to conclude their transactions without talking to anybody in Lagos at all.
Regarding surveyors from Lagos, whether from NIMASA office or none inclusive surveyors, there are issues, they have to be qualified and accredited. When they are accredited, that means they have mandate to carry out survey of vessels on behalf of NIMASA. Know that NIMASA answers to IMO on all of the issues of vessel surveying,” he said.
On Sea Protection Levy, the NIMASA dispelled the allegation of collection by the agency’s officials on the way.
He observed that what was needed between the operators and the regulating officials was a change of attitudes.
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