FG Moves to Restructur­e Nigeria’s Ship Registrati­on

- Eromosele Abiodun

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.”

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