NIMASA Alleges Plot to De-market Nigeria as Unsafe for Vessels

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Eromosele Abiodun
The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has alleged plot by entrenched interest to de-market Nigeria as a place that is unsafe for vessels to operate.

This, he stated, was despite the fact that Nigeria is the first country in the sub-region to have a stand-alone legislation on piracy and also the first country that has launched an ambitious deep blue project.

The Director General of NIMASA, Dr Dakuku Peterside, stated this while speaking at a name-giving ceremony for the first daughter vessel, Team Beleuzi, acquired by Team Offshore Nigeria (TEAM Offshore), which is 100 per cent Nigerian-owned.

Team Offshore Nigeria is a leading offshore support service provider in the Nigerian oil and gas industry.

According to Dakuku, “There is an attempt to portray our waters as unsafe for vessels to operate, but with the coming of a vessel like this, all of that has been rubbished and has proven that Nigerian waters are safe and not what they want people to believe.

“Also there has been a debate about the Cabotage regime, whether it is working or not, I need no further proof; this effort will speak for itself and the Cabotage law. “Another important thing is the debate whether the Nigerian environment is safe to invest in. It is evidential and empirical that Nigeria is the right place to invest, a major market of today and of the future.”

He added, “The vessel is coming at a unique time in the maritime industry. It is coming at a time when the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has declared that Nigeria has the second highest tonnage in Africa after Liberia, which is an open registry.

“The import of that is that with the coming of this vessel, it will add to our tonnage and Nigeria will even be higher.

“The second significant thing the coming of this vessel is making is that it is also coming at a time when the Abuja MOU, which is the regional port state control organisation for West and Central Africa, has declared Nigeria number one in port state and flag state control in the entire West and Central African region.”

Speaking on the complexity of building a vessel, he said, “There has been a debate in the industry between the complexity of giving birth to a biological child and a great piece of work like a vessel, the type we have here. The debate is that principally the birth of a child involves two persons, a man and a woman, never mind what science would say.

“But that the birth of a great vessel like this involves a lot of persons. Beyond that, is the fact that you start with conceiving the idea of building a vessel, you get naval architect to design what you have in mind, you begin to mobilise financial resources and after that you mobilise material and the diversity of the material you need to build a vessel like this can only be imagined.”

As customary in the shipping industry, Partner at ACAS Law – owners of Team Offshore Nigeria, Mrs. Funke Agbor, was formally named Team Beleuzi’s Godmother.

Speaking earlier, the Managing Partner at ACAS Law, Afolabi Caxton-Martins, said, “At TEAM Offshore, our mission has been to focus on maximising our Nigerian content contribution and creating in country value, through investment for growth and local employment.

“Team Beleuzi, which is a 100 per cent locally owned vessel, highlights our commitment towards value creation through our continuous and increased investment in the maritime sector in Nigeria.”