The Nigerian Ship owners Association (NISA) has faulted the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) over the status of 4,255 vessels registered under the Nigerian ship registry.
According to a data obtained exclusively by SHIPS & PORTS DAILY, NIMASA said it registered a total of 4,255 Nigerian vessels with a gross tonnage of 5.3 million between 2004 and 2018.
A breakdown of the figure shows that 3,456 flag vessels with a gross tonnage of 3.7 million was recorded while the number of registered cabotage vessels stood at 680 with a gross tonnage of 872, 907. NIMASA added that 119 provisional vessels with a gross tonnage of 645,652 were also registered in the period.
The ship registry office however could not provide the status of any of the registered vessels but only noted that 157 have been deleted from its record.
No mention was made of the number of active or inactive vessels in the registry.
Speaking on the development, the President of NISA, Aminu Umar, noted that a robust ship registry should be able to categorise and identify the status of vessels in its record. He also faulted the figure released by the ship registry office as total number of registered vessels.
According to him, “What we are more concerned about is to know the identities of the ships. All of them cannot be ships; are they boats or what are they that have been registered?
“We need to categorise it and that is more important in terms of statistics to have the record of which ones are vessels, boats, fishing trawler and which ones are still active and the ones that have already left Nigeria and which ones are in Nigeria but not active.
“There are many Nigerian vessels that are registered but are already scrapped so they need to review the list to come up with the vessels that are on the register and still active. I don’t think we have up to 4,255 ships in the registry.”
Umar however noted that while registration process has improved compared to what it used to be few years ago, there is need for Nigeria to up its ante in order to be at par with other big flag countries.
“We just registered two ships, one in July and another one in the month of August. The registration process has improved, yet it is not to the level of big flag nations,” Umar said.
It would be recalled that the Director General of NIMASA, Dakuku Peterside, in February 2018 set up a committee to review the operations and activities of the ship registration office to ensure that its processes comply with international best practices.