By Edu Abade
Management of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) have agreed to set up a working committee that will be meeting regularly to ensure greater collaboration between both organisations for improved operations in the overall interest of the country.
The agreement was reached during a courtesy visit by the Management of NLNG, led by the Managing Director, Dr Philip Mshelbila, to NIMASA’s Head Office in Apapa, Lagos.
During the visit, Director-General of NIMASA, Dr Bashir Jamoh, who noted that a better working relationship between NIMASA and the NLNG would greatly enhance operations in the maritime sector, assured the management of NLNG that NIMASA would extend its working relationship with NLNG’s Ship Management Limited (NSML) to the parent body, while also urging the company to consider the Nigerian Flag as the first option for its vessels.
He said: “This is a new beginning and our focus should be what will be best for Nigeria and not only for the NLNG or NIMASA.”
Jamoh, who commended the NLNG for providing platforms for sea time to train Nigerian seafarers, noted that the agency remained committed to attaining best global practices so that certificates issued in Nigeria will be recognised globally.
“We are working to ensure that the Certificates of Competency (CoCs) issued by NIMASA are of international standard. This will make it easy for the NLNG and other international organizations to accept them.”
Jamoh said the agency needs the NLNG to boost the Nation’s tonnage, adding: “NIMASA needs the NLNG, we desire to have vessels of the NLNG fly the Nigerian Flag, just imagine that NLNG vessels are on the Nigerian Registry, our tonnage will increase exponentially, the Nigerian Flag will earn much more respect globally and we will get better recognition,” he said.
Speaking, Managing Director of NLNG, Philip Mshelbila, noted that the management of the NLNG was committed to deliberate indigenisation of the human component of its operation and that the management was ready to partner with NIMASA to enhance the safety and security of lives and assets in the Nigerian maritime domain.
He noted that they are on the same page with NIMASA in terms of capacity development and the quest to ensure Nigeria attains internationally acceptable standards in her operations in the maritime sector.
“We at NLNG have realised that for us to fulfil one of our key elements of our vision, which is helping to build a better Nigeria, it is important for us to work with all our stakeholders including NIMASA. We are aware that NIMASA and our subsidiary, NMSL are working for the progress of the country and we desire the same spirit of partnership and collaboration to be extended to the NLNG.”
“I believe that for NLNG to fulfil its mission as a business it needs to partner with NIMASA. NIMASA is an important stakeholder for us; we don’t just see it as a regulator only. I am aware that we have various training programmes working closely with NIMASA and being explored by NMSL to provide sea time training for seafarers, which has enabled the seafarers to enhance their qualifications and get certifications.”
He expressed appreciation to NIMASA for the active management of the activities in the Gulf of Guinea. “We can certainly testify from the report that we get both locally and from international bodies that there has been a huge success in the war against criminal activities in the Gulf of Guinea and we know that the Deep Blue Project is instrumental in attaining this success.
“Based on information available to us, I don’t think there has been any case of abduction since this year and that is a testament of the success of the Deep Blue Project initiative that NIMASA has driven in collaboration with the Nigerian Navy, as well as regional and non-regional bodies,” he added.
NIMASA and NLNG have agreed to urgently review port charges and how best to make the Nigerian ports more competitive, effective implementation of the Cabotage Law, Stevedoring charges, CoC recognition and registration of NLNG vessels on the Nigerian Ship Registry, among others.
As a joint venture, the Federal Government has 49 per cent, while Shell gas B.V owns 25.6 per cent; Total LNG Nigeria Limited owns 15 per cent and Eni International 10.4 per cent, culminating in the 51 per cent private ownership of NLNG.
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