NIMASA, NLNG, Reach Agreement To Set Up A Standing Committee To Enhance Their Operations

By tephen Ubanna

 With barely 10 years after the  Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency , NIMASA, under Patrick Akpobolokemi,  the then Director General of the Agency,  blocked  the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas , NLNG,   access  to the Company’s  major loading terminals for  gas exports   over its  refusal to pay  the statutory  three percent  freight levy  on every ship  entering or leaving Nigeria which had  accumulated to  over a $140 million as at June 201013, the frosty relationship  appears to have changed under Bashir Jamoh, the Incumbent Director General.

Recall that Akobolokemi , had  used  the maritime regulatory agency  statutory powers  to restrain three  NLNG vessels , NLNG Enugu,  NLNG Oyo  and NLNG Imo  , from accessing  or leaving  the company’s  loading bay at Bony Island, Rivers  state.  The NLNG controls seven percent of the global total gas supply while Russian Federation, which is currently at war with the North American country of the United States, US and European Union, EU, backed Ukraine controls 19.8%.

Signs of improved working relationship between the  two Organisations  had emerged when  the  Management of NLG agreed to pay the outstanding  $140 million  debt after series of meetings with NIMASA management  in 2013.

Bashir Jamoh, the incumbent Chief Executive Officer, CEO, of NIMASA, May have known the strategic importance of the NLNG, to the agency  operations  both in terms of revenue and  providing platforms  for sea  time to train  Nigerian seafarers  that it had given him the courage to say that  the agency  is committed ‘’ to attaining  best global  practice , so that Certificates issued by Nigeria will be recognised globally  , noting that ‘’ this will make it easy   for the NLNG and other international Organisations  to accept th’’.

Jamoh, DG, NIMASA, And Visting NLNG Officials

  the two Organisations were said to  have agreed’’ to set up a working Committee, that will meet  regularly  ‘’to ensure  improved  liaison  between them  to avoid a repeat of what happened in 2013,  where their case over unpaid $140 million  went  to Court  in the interest of Nigeria’’. The agreement was said to have been reached during  a courtesy  visit  by the Management Team  of the  Bonny Island  based  gas company  led by  Phiilip Mshelbila, the Managing Director   to NIMASA recently.

Jamoh,  regarded as the poster boy of the nation’s maritime  sector, may have  taken advantage of the NLNG officials  visit to the agency  to  speak out that a  ‘’better working  relationship   between NIMASA and NLNG,  would  greatly enhance   operations  of the country’s maritime sector’’.

He may have gladdened  the heart of  Mshelbila, the NLNG, CEO,  and his Management Team,  on the courtesy visit, when he assured  them that the  agency  would  extend ‘’ the already  existing  friendly  working relationship  with  the  NLNG Ship Management Limited,  NSML, to the parent body , while also urging  the NLNG, ‘’to consider  the Nigerian Flag  as first option  for their vessels. 

He was said to have made it clear to the visiting NLNG Management Team that do so  will ‘’ start a new beginning of their focus  of doing what  is best  for Nigeria  and not for the NLNG and NIMASA’’. NLNG- NSML, were said to have registered their its vessels  in Bermudian Ship Registry  instead of the  Nigerian Ship Registry.

The NIMASA helmsman may have hit the nail on the head when he repeatedly said that ‘’the agency needs the NLNG, to boost the nation’s tonnage’’.   

Jamoh, the NIMASA Director General had said that ‘’ if all the vessels owned by NLNG are on the Nigerian registry , it will increase   the country’s tonnage exponentially’’, stressing that  ‘’the Nigerian Flag  will earn  much more respect  in the comity of nations  and would also  get better  recognition’’.

Ahmed: MD, NSML, C Gives Reasons Why None Of The NLNG-NSML Vessels Is Nigerian Flagged

Abdul –Kadir Ahmed, NSML, boss had confirmed  that  none of  the NLNG-NSML vessels  is Nigerian Flagged  because’’ the International Financiers  had insisted  the vessels  must be Flagged  in  internationally  accepted ship registry recognised  by Lloyds  listed Flag state’’.

Informed sources told The Value News online Magazine that  Flagging  or registration  of its ocean going vessels  in Nigeria  is the desire of  the management the  NLNG, subsidiary, NSML,  but the regulation  and other factors  to make that work  in Nigeria  must be put be  put in place   such that  ‘’it must  be internationally  accepted’’, Ahmed had said.

  Besides, NLNG-NSML vessels , not flying   Nigeria Flags or the company  registering their vessels in the Nigerian  ship registry, the company also takes its cargo vessels to dry dock  outside Nigeria  as the country  lacks   the capacity  to dry dock the NLNG vessels.

 Many believe that even if the country have the capacity to do  so, NLNG-NSML, may still not patronize Nigeria dry dock facilities because  of the international Financial Financiers  regulation  which is not favourable to  the country. This may have informed why all the 11 NLNG vessels are not registered under Nigeria Flags.

NLNG Enugu Flying Bermudia Flag Instead Of Nigerian Flag

Ahmed  may have agreed with Jamoh, the NIMASA , Director General,  on the need to patronize Nigerian  Ship registry when   he said that the company would have loved to dry dock its 11  ocean going vessels  and one LPG, vessel in Nigeria  due to the huge revenue  such would generate  for the country, but due to lack of  any dry docking facility  that can handle the NLNG vessels  in the country, and the International Financial regulations  may have  forced  it   to take their vessels outside Nigeria to dry dock.

This is a big challenge to Jamoh, the NIMASA, Chief Executive Officer, CEO,, to ensure that the N50 billion modular Floating Dock acquired by the Nigerian government for the maritime regulatory agency since 2018 and which is  currently in Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, dockyard, Apapa, is quickly  put to use instead of the endless promises  of doing so  by his Management.

While the NIMASA multi million  naira  Floating procured since 2018,      is yet to start operation, the Nigeria government  was said to have  awarded   a $$10 million contract  to China Habour and Engineering Company, CHEC,  to start  a feasibility study  on setting  up a dry dock  facility in Board  Brass, Bayelsa state as investors scamper  for  the $1 billion  Finima  dry dock facility in Rivers state. 

 That  much was confirmed by Temipre Sylva, a former gover of Bayelsa, home state of former President Goodluck Jonathan and now minister of state, Petroleum Resources and   Simbi Wabote, Executive Secretary,  Nigerian Content  Development  and Monitoring              

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *