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Nigeria automates ship registry, targets international trade

Nigeria automates ship registry, targets international trade

Dakuku Peterside, DG NIMASA

For more efficient registration and participation in the global shipping industry, Nigeria has adopted a software licence to commence the automation of the ship registry processes.

The Director-General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dakuku Peterside, who disclosed this at the Nigerian Ship Registry Interactive Forum with Ship owners in Lagos, assured of the country’s readiness to flag vessels in international trade.

He said: “We have acquired a software license to commence the automation of the Ship Registry processes as we all are aware that automation is the only way that our business processes can be quickened. Our principal aim in the near future is to achieve online electronic registration, accept electronic copies of documents and issue electronic certificates.

“We are upgrading the Ship Registry Filing Facility to ensure effective documents management and control. We are reviewing our ship registration requirements to ensure a harmonised process between Survey and Ship Registry Units, and also align ourselves with standard international best practices,” he said.

Peterside noted that the Agency is working hard towards building capacity and making sure Nigerians acquire high vessels that would participate in carrying cargoes to other world destinations. He stressed the need to grow the country’s fleet, and input its footprints in international commercial trade, assuring of efficient disbursement of the Cabotage Vessels Finance Fund (CVFF).

“Our desire is to have Nigerian flag vessels involved in international commercial trade and that is why we are making every effort to build capacity and ensure that Nigerians acquire high capacity vessels that will not only be involved in the lifting of our hydrocarbons but carry our cargoes to other parts of the world.

“As you are all well aware, Nigeria operates a closed ship registry, however, most renowned ship registries in the world such as the United Kingdom Ship Register, today maintain a second or international register to attract tonnage whilst using the closed register to develop indigenous capacity and for domestic trade similar to our Cabotage regime.

“We are therefore considering establishing a second or international register to help grow our fleet and input our footprints in international commercial trade.

“In 2018/19, we attracted into our register two high index capacity vessels – “Egina FPSO” and “MT Ultimate. We have no doubt that a lot more can be done to assist Nigerians in acquiring vessels and that is why we are making effort to disburse the Cabotage Vessels Finance Fund (CVFF),” Peterside said.

He added that the agency had internally begun to take constructive steps in the Ship Registry like an audit of register of Nigerian vessels, redesign and production of new ship registry certificates, automation of the ship registry, upgrade of the ship registry filing facility, review of ship registration guidelines and ISO 9001:2015 certification.

“A comprehensive audit of Register of Nigerian vessels was carried out in 2018/19 to ensure that the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Ship Identification Number Scheme outlined in IMO Resolution A.“Counterfeiting of Ship Registry certificates renders the entire gamut of systems and processes designed to prevent the entry of unseaworthy and sub-standard ships into the flag, a nullity.”

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