The Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, has said Nigeria’s ship registry is currently the largest in Africa after the Liberian.
Speaking at the commissioning of a newly acquired vessel Team Offshore Nigeria, named ‘M. V.‘ Beluzi’ in Lagos, Peterside said that since the nation’s ship registry was rejiged, it has attracted new vessels’ registration flying the Nigerian flag.
Nigeria currently operates a closed ship registry, unlike the Liberian registry that operates an open ship registry.
Open registry denotes flags of convenience for ships, closed registry refers to registers that set requirements regarding ownership, management and manning for vessels to fly another country’s flag.
Peterside stated: “The International Maritime Organization, IMO, has declared that Nigeria has the second-highest tonnage in Africa after Liberia which is an open registry.
“The import of that is that this new vessel will add to our tonnage and Nigeria will be higher.
“The second critical statement the coming of this vessel is making is that it is coming at a time when the Abuja Memorandum of Understanding, which is the regional Port State Control Organization for West and Central Africa, has declared Nigeria number one in Port State and Flag State Control in the entire West and Central African region.
“The import of that is that vessels flying Nigerian flag ordinarily are judged technically competent and so MV Beluzi adds to the basket of vessels flying Nigerian flag that are technically competent to ply our waters.
“The third is that 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 stand-alone legislation on anti-piracy. We are also the country that has launched an ambitious deep blue project.
“There is an attempt to portray our waters and country as unsafe for vessels to operate but with the coming of the great baby like ‘team Beluzi’ all of that has been rubbished and thrown out. The Nigerian waters are not as unsafe as they want people to believe.
“The other critical statement is that whether the Cabotage law is working or not. I need no further proof team Beluzi will speak for herself and speak for the Cabotage law.
“The other important point we will make by the coming of the vessel is that whether the Nigerian environment itself is fit for anybody to invest in, I need no further evidence, this is evidential and empirical that with team Beluzi, Nigeria is the right place to invest, it is the emerging market and you can never go wrong investing in Nigeria.”