NIMASA Plans Phased Cabotage Regime Enforcement

NIMASA Plans Phased Cabotage Regime Enforcement
R-L: Chairman, Integrated Oil and Gas Limited, Capt. Emmanuel Iheanacho; Executive Director, Marine and Operations, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Engr. Olalekan Badmus; Chairman, Senate Committee on Marine Transport, Senator Wasiu Eshilokun; Director, Maritime Safety and Security, Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy, Mr. Babatunde Bombata; Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dayo Mobereola; Chairman, House Committee on Maritime Safety, Education and Administration, Hon. Khadija Bukar; and the Managing Director of National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), Munirudeen Oyebamiji; at the 2024 Day of the Seafarer celebration in Lagos, on Tuesday.


Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) is set to begin the enforcement of Cabotage Act with the introduction of New Cabotage Compliance Strategy on Manning. This will see the replacement of foreign Seafarers with indigenous Seafarers onboard ships operating within the nation’s Cabotage waters.

Revealing this in Lagos on Tuesday during the celebration of the 2024 Day of the Seafarers, Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Dayo Mobereola acknowledged the challenges facing seafarers which include war zones threat, piracy threat, exposure to health risks, and absence of basic rights, such as insurance and compensation.

According to him, “It gives me great pleasure to welcome our distinguished guests and invitees to this special event, the celebration of Day of the Seafarer.

The day is set aside for acknowledging and honouring the contributions and sacrifices of seafarers who work onboard ships and vessels worldwide

“As the International Maritime Organization (IMO) reminds us with the theme “NAVIGATING THE FUTURE: SAFETY FIRST,” seafarers are the backbone of global trade. They brave challenging conditions, ensuring over 80 percent of the world’s trade reaches its destination.

“However, we recognise the humongous challenges seafarers face, including war zones, pirates, and exposure to health risks. We also acknowledge that some basic rights, such as proper insurance and compensation, are not always guaranteed. This is a call to action for all stakeholders government, ship owners, and ourselves at NIMASA – to address these issues and prioritize seafarer welfare.

“I wish to state that the Agency’s human capacity building initiatives have resulted in the training and retraining of Nigerian Seafarers to acquire the required skills in line with industry needs. We have prioritized the training programmes/courses to enable seafarers to acquire the relevant advanced certificates that will enhance their employment opportunities.

“In the area of employment of Seafarers, the Agency through the introduction of the New Cabotage Compliance Strategy on Manning has ensured that all foreign Seafarer Ratings and some category of officers onboard Cabotage Vessels are immediately replaced with qualified Nigerian Seafarers.

“There are opportunities for Nigerian trained Seafarers in the Cabotage Regime, the Liquefied Natural Gas and Brass LNG Projects, expansion of the NLNG trains, and the Olokola Gas Project to mention but a few.

“We therefore need to do more to showcase the importance of seafaring and also attract our youths including females to consider a career in seafaring. Mindful that we should aim at well-trained and educated officers capable of ensuring safe operation of vessels. Nigeria has the young population to compete with other countries whose Seafarers contribute immensely to their Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

“This is why today, the Agency is investing in training and capacity-building programs to enhance Seafarers’ skills, welfare, and employment opportunities.

“The Third phase of the Nigerian Seafarers’ Development program aims to graduate 435 officers. Many trainees are currently undergoing mandatory sea-time training on board ocean-going vessels. The challenge lies in securing placements for these qualified seafarers, but we are working to resolve this issue.

“The Agency is exploring avenues to create jobs for our seafarers, including collaborating with government agencies like the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) and the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS).

“Soon, certain positions such as Ratings and Officer of the Watch will be designated as “no longer available” for foreign Seafarers to occupy. However, some other positions may be considered based on merit for foreigners to occupy.

“Let me inform this esteemed gathering, that the Agency is working tirelessly to strengthen its legal framework by domesticating all Maritime Labour related ILO Conventions ratified by Nigeria. These conventions include the Maritime Labour Conventions (MLC) 2006 as amended, the Seafarers Identity Document (SID) Convention as amended, and the Dock Work Convention.”

Also delivering a keynote speech, the Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Gboyega Oyetola who was represented by the agency’s Director of Safety and Security, Babatunde Bombata promised to organize more training for Seafarers.

Present at the celebration of the 2024 Day of the Seafarers were the President of the Nigerian Shipowners Association (NISA), Shola Adewumi; President-General, Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria, Adewale Adeyanju; President, Ship Owners Association of Nigeria (SOAN), Mr. Sonny Eja; Regional Director, Africa Mission to Seafarers, Cedric Rautenbach; Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers Council, Pius Akutah and Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority, Mohammed Bello-Koko.

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