Ship owners in the country have frowned at the multiplicity of agencies now carrying out routine inspections on visiting ships contrary to global practices.
The Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside, who gave this hint at the 2018 Half Year Maritime Forecast Review in Lagos, said that the ship owners were also unhappy with plans to establish new agencies which, they claimed, would further compound ship inspection bureaucracy and delays at the ports.
According to him, in view of the worrisome situation, the ship owners are now seeking the agency’s intervention to smoothen the ship inspection processes.
Peterside stated: “I have been receiving a lot of complaints by ship owners that different Government agencies board their vessels to request for documents which many a times result in duplication of duties and increase the delay in turnaround time of vessels.
“So it means if we create new agencies we are simply going to over-burden the sector which is enjoying a new level of progression under President Muhammadu Buhari”, the NIMASA boss added.
The industry safety regulator’s disclosures were contained in a statement signed by the agency’s head of Corporate Communications, Isichei Osamgbi.
Peterside maintained that in order to avoid duplication of duties and support the Ease of Doing Business agenda of the government, the agency had signed a Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, with the Armed Forces and also collaborating with the Nigerian Customs Service, Nigerian Immigration Service, the Central Bank of Nigeria, amongst other agencies to ensure hitch-free operations at the ports.
This is even as he hinted that the current maritime regulatory agencies under the Ministry of Transportation had the mandate to ensure safety and security in the sector.
On the agency’s commitment to ensure global best practices are observed in the nation’s maritime industry, especially in the area of regulations, the NIMASA boss, for instance, said that the Nigerian Navy could not be allowed to board merchant vessels for regulatory activities according to International Maritime Organisation (IMO) regulations, Merchant Shipping Act and other regulatory instruments that are in line with global best practices.
He stated further: “There is no way the Nigerian Navy can act as a regulator in the sector and we have been working together especially in line with the MoU that exists between us to ensure security in the sector which is in line with what the IMO stipulates.
“So we should not be thinking about creating more regulatory agencies or the Navy taking the job of other regulatory agencies. The best thing to do is to strengthen these agencies to be able to perform optimally”, Peterside stressed.
He urged all industry stakeholders to support its growth, noting that things are changing and that there is the need to support the current maritime agencies to dynamically position the sector for optimal benefits.