The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency has announced the electronic verification of the new Ship Registry Certificates introduced on July 1.
According to a statement by the agency, the new Ship Registry Certificates come with quick response codes embedded in them to enable shipowners, stakeholders and regulatory officers verify the validity of the certificates.
NIMASA said it had commenced enforcement of full compliance with the marine environment protection statutory requirements and documentation on Nigerian and foreign-flagged vessels operating within the country’s maritime domain.
“This means that shipowners and operators are now required by law to update their vessel documentations, which include all permits or exemptions, levies, record books and plan approvals. This is also a pre-condition for further processing of any vessel or company requests with the agency,” it said.
The agency warned that it would impose sanctions on operators who failed to comply with the relevant requirements.
According to the statement, the new move is in line with the agency’s statutory mandate to implement all provisions applicable to marine environment protection and documentation as provided in the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, 1973; the Merchant Shipping Act, 2007; and the NIMASA Act 2007.
The Director-General of NIMASA, Dr Bashir Jamoh, said effective application of environmental protection regulations in the maritime domain was crucial to the country’s quest for economic development.
He said, “We are deliberate, methodical, and strategic in the enforcement of the environmental protection requirements as they relate to our own laws and international regulations that we accede to.
“A well-protected marine environment guarantees investors’ confidence, which is a basic necessity for the maximisation and optimisation of our rich maritime endowments. This touches directly on the country’s economic diversification and sustainable development drive.
“We are enthroning a sound and sustainable marine environment protection system that serves the interests of both the country and the operators. And necessary steps have been taken to ensure we have stakeholders on the same page.”
On the electronic verification of certificates, Jamoh said the agency had adopted technology to guarantee more security for its documents and give stakeholders and the international shipping community greater confidence in its services.
The Registrar of Ships, Mrs Nneka Obiayor, said, “Safety and security of ships as well as ease of doing business are of uppermost priority in the design and implementation of the electronic verification of our newly-introduced Ship Registry Certificates.
“With a blend of technology and creativity, we have introduced new features intended to make our ship registration certificates more secure and easier to process.”