Nigeria targets improved ship registry
As ITF labels Sierra Leone, Togo worst flags on sea
The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) said it is working to improve the nation’s ship registry to attract more registrations.
This is even as the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) has labelled Sierra Leone and Togo as West African countries with the worst flags operating in the Mediterranean Sea.
The General Secretary of Algeria’s transport union FNTT and ITF Vice President for the Arab World region, Seddik Berrama, said Sierra Leone and Togo did not appear on the yearly quality whitelists issued by the Paris and Tokyo Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs).
“Our goal is to expose the substandard shipping examples that we see regularly in our ports. If we can spread the word of the abuses experienced by the crew onboard are too often ignored by these flags, then we will send a strong message that substandard shipping is unacceptable,” Berrama.
The ITF Inspectorate Coordinator, Steve Trowsdale, revealed that these flag states take money from shipowners to register ships that other countries wouldn’t touch, many of which are old vessels and are poorly maintained by their owners.
According to him, many of these ships are dangerous and should not be trading, adding that substandard shipping in the Mediterranean Sea is driving down seafarers’ wages and conditions, as well as endangering the lives of crew and risking the environment.
Meanwhile, the Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, while reeling out his landmark achievements in three years, said he hopes to make positive marks in improving the nation’s ship registry to attract more registrations, beginning with the Nigerian LNG Limited (NLNG), which has the most vessels yet registers with foreign flags.
Speaking on Port State Control (PSC) in the country, Jamoh said no fewer than 676 vessels were inspected in 2021, while 510 inspections was executed in 2020.
He said the agency carried out 525 port state inspections in 2017 with 659 in 2018, leading to 35 per cent increase.
Jamoh said 725 inspections were carried out in 2019, amounting to 10 per cent increase against that of the previous year.
“In 2019, the agency performed a total of 2,580 flag state inspections (FSI) representing 2,123 renewal inspections, 276 condition surveys and 181 Random Flag State Surveys (RFSS). This showed a 49 per cent increase from the 1,737 total FSI carried out in 2018 comprising 1,241 Flag State Renewal Inspections (FSRI),” he explained.
The NIMASA boss further added that, while there was no single vessel for enforcement at the inception of his administration in the area of flag and port state administration, the agency was building seven brand new bullet proofs boats in Spain.
He stressed that before the end of March 2023, the agency would receive and commission the vessels.
According to him, “as soon as the vessels are commissioned, there will be enhanced enforcement performance and we plan to divide the use of the vessels; not only in Lagos but also to other zones of the agency. All these will cater for the issue of safety.”