By Chiazo Ogbolu
The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has urged the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) to consider the Nigerian Flag as first option for its vessels.
The Director-General of NIMASA, Dr Bashir Jamoh, made the appeal in a statement on Wednesday in Lagos.
Jamoh said this during a courtesy visit by the management of the NLNG led by the Managing Director, Dr Philip Mshelbila, to NIMASA.
He added that both organisations agreed to set up a working committee meeting regularly to ensure improved relationship.
According to him, a better working relationship between NIMASA and the NLNG will greatly enhance operations in the maritime sector of the country.
He assured the NLNG management that NIMASA would extend the already existing working relationship the Agency had with the NLNG Ship Management Ltd. (NSML) to the parent body.
“This is a new beginning; our focus should be what is best for Nigeria and not just for the NLNG or NIMASA,” he said.
While commending the NLNG for providing platforms for Sea time to train Nigerian seafarers, Jamoh noted that the Agency was committed to attaining best global practice to ensure global recognition of certificates issued by Nigeria.
“We are working to ensure that the Certificates of Competency issued by the Nigerian Maritime Administration are of international standard, and this will make it easy for the NLNG and other international organisations to accept them,” Jamoh said.
He said that the Agency needed the NLNG to boost the nations tonnage.
“NIMASA needs the NLNG, we desire to have vessels of the NLNG fly the Nigerian flag, just imagine that vessels of the NLNG 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.
Responding, Mshelbila said that the management of the NLNG was committed to the deliberate indigenisation of the human component of its operation.
He added that they were ready to partner NIMASA to enhance safety and security of lives and assets in the Nigerian maritime domain.
He noted that they were on the same page with NIMASA in terms of capacity development and the quest to ensure Nigeria attains internationally acceptable standards in the maritime sector.
“We at NLNG have realised that for us to fulfill one of our key vision elements, 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 hand in hand for the progress of this country and we desire that same spirit of partnership and collaboration should be extended to the NLNG.
“I believe that for the NLNG to fulfill its mission as a business it needs to partner with NIMASA,” he said.
Mshelbila said that they had various training programmes, and working closely with NIMASA, being explored by the NMSL to provide sea time training for seafarers had enabled the seafarer to fulfill their qualifications and get certifications.
He expressed appreciation to NIMASA for the active management of the activities in the Gulf of Guinea through the Deep Blue Project which was instrumental in attaining the success.