FG Moves to Restructure Nigeria’s Ship Registration
The federal government has commenced moves to restructure the nation’s ship registry 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.
Also, the government has commenced the issuance of new certificates of ship registration while simultaneously phasing out the old permits.
Ship registration is the process by which a ship is documented and given the nationality of the country to which the ship has been documented. The nationality allows a ship to travel internationally as it is proof of ownership of the vessel.
Ship registration is used to document ships for ownership. Documentation provides definite evidence of nationality for international purposes and provides financing opportunities with the availability of preferred mortgages on documented vessels.
All vessels, according to the rules of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), are expected to register under a country of their choice, the maritime administration, which in turn permits such ship to fly their flag.
Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Bashir Jamoh, who disclosed this in a statement said the government was restructuring the Nigerian Ship Registration Office for efficient and effective service delivery.
“We are determined to grow our national fleet and tonnage to an enviable height. 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,” Jamoh said.
He added that 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.
He disclosed that the Certificate of Cabotage Ship Registry for Bareboat Chartered Vessel; and Foreign Owned Vessels are also affected.
Others, he added, 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,” he said.
He noted that issuance of these certificates was 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.”