Political Volatility: Dakuku set to cancel all Cabotage waivers

Written by Maritime First

…Says Agency Ready to Enforce Strict Compliance to Regulations***

The volatility and the unpredictability of the nation’s political system may be set to pay off in the Maritime sector, as the Director-General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside has declared that the Agency will henceforth cancel all forms of waivers under the Cabotage Act, particularly from the oil firms operations, because such waivers have neither helped the growth of the Nigerian maritime sector, nor the economy at large.

Dakuku stated this during a meeting with the Oil Producers Trade Sector (OPTS) in Lagos, stressing that NIMASA was in fact, on the verge of ending such waivers.

But the NIMASA Boss showed the agency management might still be interested in further politics, as he urged industry players to draw up a five-year strategic plan for the “cessation of application for Cabotage waiver” and also, to pursue the utilization of Nigerian-owned vessels for marine contracts.

“Our laws forbid foreign vessels operating in our territorial waters save for compliance with the Cabotage Act. We also want to increase the number of Nigerians who participate in the marine aspect of your business and we are working closely with the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) to have a joint categorization of vessels operating under the Cabotage Act in order to ensure the full implementation of the Act”, Dakuku  stated, urging the international oil companies (IOCs) to support NIMASA’s bid to ensure full implementation of the Act; arguing that it would equally be of more benefit to the investors in the sector as it will be cost effective for them to engage Nigerians.

Commenting on the previous resolutions with the OPTS, Dakuku stated that there was need for the trade section of the oil producers to fulfill their own part of the agreement. He said NIMASA will not compromise the growth of the maritime sector, especially when it comes to the issue of enforcing statutory regulations enshrined in the Agency’s empowering instruments.

Dr. Dakuku further stated that in NIMASA’s bid to grow the industry, it would not hesitate to wield its powers where necessary, adding that the agency’s mandate is strictly regulatory. But he also noted that NIMASA preferred the method of engaging key players in the industry for symbiotic benefits.

“We don’t want to change our rules of engagement to a confrontational one because the mandate we have is that of the Nigerian people, to grow shipping for our economic benefits. In this wise, we urge you to cooperate and collaborate with us where necessary so that we can have an all-inclusive maritime sector,” the Director-General stated.

Dakuku said the Agency was taking necessary steps to ensure that there were no gaps in the sector, especially as it concerns needed human capacity. He said the Nigerian Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP), which is an interventionist programme of the Agency, was making serious headway in creating sea time for the over 2,000 graduates of the programme.

In his own remarks, the Executive Director of OPTS, which comprises major oil companies, Bunmi Toyobo who said the trade section was ready to comply with all directives of NIMASA, also said the information required by the Agency to build and harmonise its data for better regulation of the sector will be provided by OPTS.

The meeting, which was well attended by OPTS, had managing directors and representatives of major oil firms, including Total, Exxon Mobil, Shell, and Agip amongst others.

Meanwhile, the agency on Thursday in Lagos advised maritime stakeholders on the need to maintain and enforce safety measures in the work place.

Dr Peterside indicated this while speaking at the agency’s 2018 Annual Maritime Administration and Safety Enforcement Workshop, with the theme: “Maritime Enforcement Safety: Current Global Benchmarks”, saying it behoves on NIMASA to ensure safety within the nation’s maritime domain.

The D-G said that creating awareness on safety measure was the first step toward achieving the goals that entailed increase productivity, reduction in potential hazards, fewer accidents and the promotion of safety practices.

“The initiation of Maritime Administration and Safety Enforcement (MASE) is to provide hands-on safety procedures that aid the industry to carry out responsibilities under the NIMASA Act of 2007 and related conventions.

“MASE is devised to be compliant with maritime Health Safety Environment regulations which are solely for identifications, assessment and control of hazards prone to enforcement operations in onshore and offshore facilities.
“MASE is set for officers directly involved in maritime regulatory activity in Nigeria,’’ Peterside said.

Dakuku listed some of the risk control measures, charging stakeholders drawn from both the public and the private sector to be mindful of the dangers attached to their work place in order for the nation to sustain International Maritime Organisation (IMO) directive.

Mr Emmanuel Uwalaka, Regional Administrator, OSH Association, UK Nigeria Region, guest at the event, who spoke on the topic “Maritime Enforcement Safety, Current Global Benchmarks” said that Nigeria would not lag behind others.

According to him every effort should be made to put the country’s maritime safety at par with other countries since as a player in the global trade the universal benchmark is what is applicable.

“Our attention to such directives determine to a great extent the way and manner the world relates to us,’’ he said.

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