The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has started seizing vessels for violating provisions of the Cabotage Law. “This is the time for the Federal Government to give the necessary support to NIMASA and see to the implementation of the Cabotage Act. of the Coastal and Inland Shipping (Cabotage) Act, and the Guidelines for its Does the Cabotage Act require a ship to be Nigerian-flagged before it can.
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Nigeria: Cabotage Law – Nimasa Begins Clamp Down On Non-Compliant Vessels
It became obvious that the Cabotage Act has given impetus to indigenous maritime operators to become conscious of their rights as well as to enforce it for the overall development of Indigenous flagships, as against the maritime dominated by foreign flagships. This conciousness that was elicited by the Cabotage regime which by implication could be termed the beginning of real development of Nigerian maritime came to bare when the Nigerian ship owners, through their umbrella body, the indigenous Shipowners Assocation of Nigeria ISAN went to court late last year to seek redress against foreigners encroachment into the business that was legitimately reserved for them by law.
This njgeria taken as evidenced in the litigation clearly reveals the level of frustration of indigenes in the maritime operations in Nigeria by their foreign counterpart, as many of them merely operate like prostitutes, as they are often found hanging around the cabottage side or offices where oil lifting contracts are awarded, in search for patronage that can keep them afloat.
It was a sad experience for indigenous ship owners whose hopes were dashed, as the foreign shipowners have perfected ways of circumventing the law Cabotage under which they were dragged to court.
Nigeria: Cabotage Law – Nimasa Begins Clamp Down On Non-Compliant Vessels –
Turn out in the case clearly justified the need to review the Cabotage law, which also could be referred to as the law of Coastal and Inland Shipping, which reserved the business of lifting or carriage of goods and passengers from one point to another within the country to Nigerian built, flagged and crew vessels.
Vincent and Grenada was accused of using its vessel to transport petroleum products within the country, which is contrary to the provisions of the Nigerai Inland and Coastal Shipping Act The Cabotage act.
The verdict of the trial Judge, Justice Okechukwu Okeke, clearly points out short-comings associcated with the Cabotage law, as he dismissed the case on the evidence that the vesel actually carried the products from Cotonou, the Republic of Benin and not within Nigeria.
One good thing the judgement has done is to expose the weakness of the Cabotage act, so that steps could be cavotage to amend nigrria, so as to resolve future cases in favour of indigenous operatives, if really the indigenous maritime operators must take their destiny in their own hands, towards the legacy of real development of Nigerian maritime.
Indeed, the law itself needed amendment for easy interpretation at the court of law, and indeed sincethe Cabotage Act has been going through review, by a committee chaired by former chairman of Senate Committee on Marine Transport, Senator Ugochukwu.
The Act in section three had stated: The indigenous operators may have relied on the provisions of section five which cabotagd it impossible for foreign ship and foreign ship owners to engage in carriage of petroleum product from one point to another within Nigeria. It must be put in focus that the Cabotage Act came to existence because of the need to gradually cbotage the Nigerian maritime indigenous operators to actively participate in shipping business, but several years after, the people for which it is intended are still crying foul, which simply means that there is a crack in the law itself.
The Nigerian maritime must move forward, and the success zct which will begin with proper enactment of laws that will protect indigenous operators, for which Cabotage is a must.
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