For Nigeria to play active role among the comity of maritime nations, there is need for it for to develop its local capacity in seafaring and put mercenaries in place to ensure that its vessels fly Nigerian flag and accepted globally.
Already, the NLNG Ship Management Limited (NSML), the shipping arm of the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) said it has commenced arrangements with NIMASA to ensure that the nation builds the regulatory capacity so that Nigerian flag can be accepted internationally.
The Managing Director of NSML, Abdul-Kadir Ahmed during an interactive session with Journalists in Lagos, said the company is working relentlessly to build capacity in local seafaring with the establishment of its Maritime Centre of Excellence in Bonny Island, while providing opportunity for sea time on board ships.
Describing NSML as the largest employer of seafarers in Nigeria, he said the ‘Nigerianisation’ of agenda of the company is targeting 100 per cent by 2022 and it is currently at 83 per cent.
“100 per cent of the ratings on board our vessel are Nigerians and more than 60 per cent of officers on those vessels are Nigerians,” he said.
According to him, NMSL currently operate 11 LNG vessels and one Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) vessel, with about 700 Nigerians manning the vessels.
For vessels to fly Nigerian flag, he said certain factors must be put in place to make such vessels accepted internationally.
“A major reason for this is because of international financing. When vessels are internationally financed, the International financiers always want the vessel to be flagged under-recognised White Listed Flag State. The second reason, which we are working with NIMASA on, is to ensure that we build the capacity of our regulatory agency so that our flag can be accepted internationally.
“Most important to a shipping company is that its vessels must be accepted everywhere it goes. The flagging of vessels under the Nigerian flag is a desire and a national objective, and we at NSML are happy to key into that. However, it requires a lot of work and all hands must be on deck to ensure this,” he said.
Meanwhile, Ahmed said the company is still vigorously pursuing its Clean Water Initiative (CLI) campaign to reduce the effects of plastics, debris and other maritime litters on the Nigerian waterways.
He said plans are underway to further implement and expand the ideals of the campaign in the coming years.
“The plan is to ensure the proper clean-up and maintenance of the waterways at these AOPs; whilst extending the initiative in subsequent years to the inland waterways in Rivers State; and subsequently the national space,” he said.