NIMASA orders owners of abandoned ships to remove or lose them

In a bid to ensure safe and secure shipping on the Nigerian
territorial waters, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety
Agency, NIMASA, has warned all owners of abandoned ships/vessels to
urgently remove same from the Nigerian territorial waters on or before
April 28 or risk sanctions ranging from forfeiture or removal by the
agency at the owner’s expense.
The Director General of the Agency, Dakuku Peterside, who stated this
recently in Lagos noted that it is instructive to ensure that our
waters remain safe for navigation in order to advance our maritime
interests.
He, therefore, warned that all abandoned ships would be declared as
wrecks and the agency would ensure that nothing impedes safe
navigation in Nigerian waters by removing them.
“In line with our mandate on the protection of the marine environment
and safety of navigation within Nigerian waters and our powers as the
receiver of wrecks; owners of all abandoned ships, vessels and
derelicts are sternly warned to seek removal plan permits from the
Agency and ensure the removal of these wrecks and derelicts from our
waters on or before April 28th, 2017 failure of which would attract
appropriate sanction,” Mr. Peterside said
He also reeled out the sanctions to include removal of such wrecks at
the owners’ expense as well as forfeiture of the vessels stating that
the agency is empowered to do so in line with the powers vested in it
by the Merchant Shipping Act 2007 and other enabling Acts and
International Maritime Organisation (IMO) instruments.
It should be noted that Nigeria is party to the Nairobi International
Convention on the Removal of Wrecks (Nairobi Convention 2007). The
Convention is a treaty of the IMO with the purpose of prompt and
effective removal of shipwrecks located in the parties’ territorial
waters including its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) that may be
hazardous to navigation or environment. The convention gives States’
Authority to remove wrecks and in Nigeria’s case NIMASA is the
receiver of wrecks.
All abandoned vessels littering the waterways and the shoreline of the
country are affected by this directive, the agency said.
The management of NIMASA has constantly expressed the agency’s
commitment to ensuring a safer waterway for Nigerian maritime
stakeholders to conduct their business.
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