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Government alleges plot to portray Nigerian waters as unsafe

 Government alleges plot to portray Nigerian waters as unsafe•Nigeria emerges second highest shipping tonnage in Africa

The Federal Government has raised an alarm over alleged plot from some quarters to portray Nigerian waters as unsafe for ships to operate, assuring that the nation’s maritime territory is adequately safe and attracting more vessels.

The Director-General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dakuku Peterside, who disclosed this at the name giving ceremony for first daughter vessel of Team Offshore Nigeria named “Team Beleuzi” in Lagos, yesterday, said it has been proven that Nigerian waters are safe and more reason it is attracting new vessels.

He also disclosed that the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has declared Nigeria as the second highest tonnage in Africa after Liberia.

His words: “There is an ongoing attempt to de-market Nigeria as a place that is unsafe for vessels to operate, despite the fact that we are the first country in this sub-region to have standalone legislation on anti-piracy. We have also launched an ambitious deep blue project. There is an attempt to portray our waters as unsafe for vessels to operate, but with the coming of the this baby like ‘Team Beleuzi’, all of that has been rubbished the day it has been proven that Nigerian waters are safe and not as unsafe as they want people to believe,”

Peterside further noted that the coming of the vessel has proven that the Cabotage law is working.

“This vessel is coming at a time when the IMO has declared that Nigeria has the second highest tonnage in Africa after Liberia, which is an open registry. The importance of that is that with the coming of this vessel, it will add to our tonnage and Nigeria will even be higher.

“The second significant statement the coming of this vessel is coming is that it is also coming at a time when the Abuja MOU has declared Nigeria number one in port state and flag state control in the entire West and African region. The import of that is that vessels flying Nigerian flag are ordinarily adjudged technical competent” he said.

Minister of State for Transportation, Gbemisola Saraki who was represented by Mrs Chinwe Ezenwa said the Federal Government is committed to pursuing the local content agenda and provide a smooth operating environment that will guarantee return on investment.

Managing Partner at ACAS Law, owners of Team Offshore Nigeria, Afolabi Caxton-Martins, said: “At Team Offshore, our mission has been to focus on maximising our Nigerian content contribution and creating in country value, through investment for growth and local employment. Team Beleuzi, which is a 100 per cent locally owned vessel, highlights our commitment towards value creation through our continuous and increased investment in the maritime sector in Nigeria.”

A partner at ACAS Law, Mrs. Funke Agbor, was formally named as Team Beleuzi’s Godmother, as she wished her safe operations at all times.

Team Beleuzi is a Platform Supply Vessel (PSV) built in 2019 and designed to transport supplies and equipment to and from offshore installations, in addition to supply drilling equipment, drilling bulks, fluids and pipes.

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