NIMASA urges NLNG to make Nigerian Flag first vessel option

  • As both agree on working committee

Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Bashir Jamoh (left), Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Nigeria LNG Limited (NLNG), Dr. Philip Mshelbila, and Executive Director, Maritime Labour and Cabotage Services, NIMASA, Mr. Victor Ochei during the NLNG team’s courtesy visit to NIMASA in Lagos

By Anthony Nwachukwu

To boost national tonnage and economy, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has asked the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) to consider the Nigerian Flag as first option for its vessels, even as it works to ensure that certificates issued by Nigeria are of global standard.

Making the request, NIMASA Director-General, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, assured the NLNG delegation led by the Managing Director, Dr. Philip Mshelbila, that the agency will extend its already existing working relationship with the NLNG Ship Management Limited (NSML) to the parent body.

“NIMASA needs the NLNG, we desire to have vessels of the NLNG fly the Nigerian Flag,” a statement from the Assistant Director, Public Relations, Osagie Edward, cited Jamoh to say during the NLNG delegation’s courtesy visit.

“Just imagine that vessels of the NLNG are on the Nigerian Registry, our tonnage will increase exponentially, the Nigerian Flag will earn much more respect globally and we will get better recognition.”

He commended the NLNG for providing platforms for sea-time training for Nigerian seafarers, reaffirming the agency’s commitment to attaining best global practice to ensure global recognition for certificates issued by Nigeria.

“We are working to ensure that the Certificates of Competency issued by the Nigerian Maritime Administration are of international standard,” he added. “This will make it easy for the NLNG and other international organisations to accept them.”

And, towards a hitch-free operational relationship going forward, both organisations have agreed on a regular working committee meeting to ensure improved liaison between both organisations.

Jamoh said a better working relationship would greatly enhance operations in the nation’s maritime sector, adding: “This is a new beginning; our focus should be what is best for Nigeria and not just for the NLNG or NIMASA.”

On his part, Mshelbila assured of NLNG’s commitment to the deliberate indigenisation of the human component of its operation, adding that they were ready to partner NIMASA to enhance the safety and security of lives and assets in the Nigerian maritime domain.

He noted that they were on the same page with NIMASA in terms of capacity development and the quest to ensure that Nigeria attains internationally acceptable standards in its operations in the maritime sector.

“We at NLNG have realised that for us to fulfil one of our key vision elements, which is helping to build a better Nigeria, it is important for us to work with all our stakeholders, including NIMASA,” he stated.

“We are aware that NIMASA and our subsidiary, NMSL, are working hand-in-hand for the progress of this country and we desire that same spirit of partnership and collaboration should be extended to the NLNG.

“I believe that for NLNG to fulfil its mission as a business, it needs to partner NIMASA. NIMASA is an important stakeholder for us; we don’t just see it as a regulator only.

“I know we have various training programmes, working closely with NIMASA, being explored by NMSL to provide sea-time training for seafarers, which has enabled the seafarers to fulfil their qualifications and get certifications.”

He commended NIMASA for its management of the activities in the Gulf of Guinea, stating: “We can certainly testify from the report that we get both locally and from international bodies that there has been a huge success in the war against criminal activities in the Gulf of Guinea, and we know that the Deep Blue Project is instrumental in attaining this success.”

Meanwhile, both bodies have agreed to urgently look into such areas as port charges and how best to make Nigerian ports competitive; effective implementation of the cabotage law, stevedoring charges, CoC recognition, and registration of NLNG vessels on the Nigerian Ship Registry, among others.

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