Vice President, Association of Marine Engineers and Surveyors (AMES), Engr Emmanuel Ilori, has commended the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) for adopting and implementing the recommendations of the Nigerian Ship registry review committee aimed at restructuring the nation’s ship registry.
NIMASA had at the weekend announced that it has commenced the issuance of new certificates of ship registration while phasing out the old permits 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.
Speaking in a chat with Maritime Today Online, Engr Ilori, who chaired the review committee said the committee has forwarded several recommendations on improving the status of the Nigerian ship Registry Office and expressed delight that those recommendations are being implemented.
He said the issuance of new certificates of ship registration by NIMASA will improve security and reduce cases of Nigerian flag certificate forgery, which he said has over the years affected the global acceptability of the nation’s ship registry.
“Anything to improve the business environment and security of our certificate is a welcome development. All we want to see is a positive development in the Nigeria ship registry which is what they have done. There are three planks that we have recommended- the technical integrity of the ship registry, the global acceptability and the business friendliness. So, anything that will be done to establish these three planks is a right step in the right direction.
“It is no secret that we have challenges with global acceptability of the Nigeria flags, technical integrity issues and all these relates to capacity development.
“There are many fake Nigerian flag certificates. It is not just the flag certificates, there are so many fake certificates out there that is not doing the Nigerian maritime business environment any good. So, what we wanted to do is to improve the business environment and ensure there are no fake documents. That will go a long way in improving the integrity and global acceptability of the Nigerian registry document and processes,” he said.
Ilori, however, urged NIMASA to expedite action in the automation and digitisation of the nation’s ship registry in order to improve its efficiency and increase opportunities for shipping development.
“The areas that have been identified are the areas we believe demands action. Some are urgent actions, some short, medium and long terms action, while some require legislative action.
“The ship registry office needs to be restructured. The working environment of the ship registry itself needs to be restructured. The processes of ship registration needs to be addressed especially the digitalization process to reduce the time necessary to register a vessel in Nigeria.
“The time it takes to register a vessel in Nigeria is too long. So we need to work on online processing of registering vessels to attract investors and improve efficiency,” he said.
Recall that immediate past Director General of NIMASA, Dakuku Peterside, had set up the implementation monitoring committee made up of members of the ship registry reform committee with the major classification societies including Lloyd’s register, ABS, DNVGL, NLNG and NCDMB, to restructure the nation’s ship registry to global standard.