Dr. Dakuku Peterside, the Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has said that the Agency will no longer tolerate the disregard for Cabotage and environmental laws by the International Oil Companies (IOCs) operating in Nigeria.
Peterside, disclosed this during an engagement with representatives of the IOCs in Lagos on ways of fostering a closer synergy towards Nigeria’s economic development also charged the IOCs to be mindful of all existing laws and regulations in the discharge of their duties as applicable sanctions will be meted out to erring companies.
The DG highlighted areas of interest to NIMASA to include the flouting of Cabotage law, negative impact to the environment from oil exploration activities, none payment of statutory levies due to the government and inadequate information sharing.
He stressed that a situation where the IOCs engage foreign vessels to do jobs that Nigerian operators have adequate capacity and equipment will no longer be tolerated as this has been a major bane in the development of Nigeria’s shipping industry.
The DG therefore charged IOCs that “you must give us ample notice of vessel requirements so that we can engage indigenous operators who have the capacity to do the job instead of giving it to foreign operators”.
According to the DG, “the spirit of the Cabotage Act is not to generate revenue in terms of waivers but to build the requisite capacity for indigenous players which will in the long run generate wealth and create employment for Nigeria’s teeming population”.
Dr. Peterside who commended the IOCs for their compliance level with payment of statutory levies so far however noted that the argument on the payment of Cabotage levies on Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSOs) facilities and other offshore platforms is unnecessary.
“By our laws, FPSOs and other offshore platforms are Cabotage vessels that are subject to NIMASA’s regulation and payment of statutory levies” the DG said.
The DG called for closer synergy with the oil companies for the benefit of the Nation even as he promised that the Agency will deepen its collaboration with the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) for the benefit of indigenous operators in Nigeria’s maritime environment.
In his words,” whether you are into shipping or shipping related business, NIMASA has a role to play in ensuring that the business is done seamlessly without security risk and not at the detriment of the Nigerian state. Therefore there is the need for you to cooperate with NIMASA especially in the area of information sharing”.
The DG said that the new NIMASA under his watch is committed to raising a high level of service delivery and that there is the need for all key players to cooperate with the Agency by sharing relevant information that would assist the Agency in carrying out its statutory responsibilities.
The DG noted that the era of some of the IOCs carrying out their businesses in violation of Nigeria’s laws especially as regards Cabotage and the environment is over stressing that “we will not fold our arms and watch while you do damage to our environment because environmental pollution is life threatening”.