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Problem with Cabotage not the law, but NIMASA’s unseriousness, inaction—Akabogu

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Barely three days after the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), unveiled a new compliance strategy for implementation of the 14-year old moribond Cabotage Law, maritime lawyer and Principal Partner of Akabogu & Associates, Mr. Emeka Akabogu has picked holes in the activities of the agency.

In an interview, he said “the failure of the cabotage implementation up till now has been because of NIMASA not really because of the law”.

“NIMASA over the years has had no will to simply implement the latter of the law. What they have come up with simply is that they will no longer grant waivers relating to certain categories of officers.

Continuing, Akabogu averred that “Now for those categories of officers, yes it makes sense that there is no point having foreigners for second officers but I really don’t see any significant impact that would have; given that ordinarily most of the time, those categories of officers are indigenous”.

“For the companies which are coming into the country say temporarily and working for a very short period of time, how that will apply we need to see. I think that the more significant area of focus should be relating to granting of waivers to ships itself.

According to him, “If NIMASA is serious, the new compliance strategy should not have been limited to a number of officers; it should have covered none granting of waivers to certain types of ships particularly tanker vessels involve in operating along the coast”.

“If they had insisted and said they would no longer grant any waivers for now to such tanker vessels that would have had an impact. But as far as they keep granting waivers to tanker vessels, all these other ones, their impact will just be minimal and more of noise as opposed to real impact.

Akabogu further argued that the real impact is by limiting the granting of waivers to tanker ships, stressing that “If NIMASA is serious, that is what it should do on the matter”.

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