The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has commenced the issuance of new certificates of ship registration while simultaneously phasing out the old permits. This is in a bid to ensure the utilisation of secured statutory certificates and prevent the entry of unseaworthy and sub-standard ships into the Nigerian flag.
Director General of the Agency, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, said, “We are restructuring the Nigerian Ship Registration Office to serve you more efficiently and effectively. We are determined to grow our national fleet and tonnage to an enviable height.”
According to Jamoh, “We are committed to ensuring that our Ship Registry remains of International Standard and this is why we have enhanced our certificates with more security features that would stand the test of time. The all-encompassing process of issuance will ensure robust screening of vessels that would visit our waters.”
The new regulation, which took effect from July 1, involves the Certificate of Nigerian Registry, Provisional Certificate of Registry, Certificate of Nigerian Registry for Bareboat Chartered Vessel, Fishing Boat and Certificate of Cabotage Ship Registry for Wholly Owned Nigerian Vessel, among others.
The Certificate of Cabotage Ship Registry for Bareboat Chartered Vessel; and Foreign Owned Vessels are also affected.
Others are Certificate of Cabotage Ship Registry for Joint Venture Owned Vessel, Deletion Certificate, Bill of Sale and Transcript of Registry.
The Certificate of Mortgage to Secure Account Current and Certificate of Freedom of Encumbrance have also been changed.
All existing certificates issued by the Registrar of Ships before the commencement of the new regulation remain valid and should be carried on board vessels until their expiration. But vessel owners or Masters may apply for the reissuance of their existing certificates
The Merchant Shipping Act, 2007 makes it mandatory for the Originals of Certificates of Registry to be carried on board vessels at all times.
It should be noted that issuance of these certificates is a fulfilment of Section 30 of the Merchant Shipping Act 2007 which provides, inter alia, that “the Registrar of Ships shall on completion of the registration of a ship, issue a certificate of registration in such form as may be approved by the Agency”.