The Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside has said that there can be no maritime sector without admiralty law, noting that every aspect of shipping is governed by one law or the other.
Peterside made the remark when the executive members of the Nigerian Maritime Law Association (NMLA), led by its President, Mr. Luke Chidi Ilogu, SAN, paid him a courtesy visit at the agencyâ€™s headquarters in Lagos.
He asserted that continuous cooperation amongst government bodies and relevant association were critical to realising a robust maritime sector.
Describing the association as central to the maritime activities, the DG stated that the agency would be willing and ready to partner them and adding that without active legal framework, there can be no maritime sector, because the existence of the sector is dependent on certain laws.
â€œIf there is a strategic partner we have without an iota of doubt, it is the Nigerian Maritime Law Association. In our industry, every stakeholder is affected by admiralty law; right from vessel acquisition, those who pilot the vessels, sea men, those whose goods are carried by the vessels, all of us are subject to one maritime law or the other. Without maritime law we have no job to do because ours is to enforce the maritime law, to ensure that we maintain standards and that everybody gets their own fair share in maritime transactions, whether as employees or as somebody whose goods are moved from one place to another, somebody who owns a vessel or even the impact on our environment. So everything we do is subject to law,â€ Peterside said.
Speaking further, the MIMASA boss stated that Nigeria is at a strategic point where crude oil and gas is no longer what it used to be, which has forced the federal government to look critically into other sectors.
He stressed that the maritime sector cannot be ignored, because of the opportunities that abounds in the sector.
â€œAccordingly, there is an urgent need to reform our laws to bring them in tune with current realities globally and locally, and the other one is in the updating of our current laws in line with global best practices so that our maritime sector can be attractive and competitive in the comity of maritime nations for other people to do businesses with us,â€he said.
He however expressed optimism that at the forthcoming seminar for judges to be organised by the agency, judges and maritime lawyers would have the opportunity to brainstorm and proffer possible solutions to issues relating to the growth and development of the maritime sector.
Earlier in his address, the president of the association, Mr. Luke Chidi Ilogu, SAN commended Peterside for his passion in making Nigeriaâ€™s maritime sector rank high in the comity of maritime nations and assured of the continuous support of the body to ensure the agency realise its mandate of repositioning NIMASA and by extension the entire sector.
He also called on the agency to take advantage of the competence and expertise of professionals in the association for the good of the industry and assured of their availability anytime they are called upon.
NIMASA is the federal government agency saddled with the responsibility of ensuring maritime safety and security, maritime labour services and also important amongst its core function is the domestication, implementation and enforcement of instruments of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).