The implementation and
enforcement of the provisions of the (Coastal and Inland Waterways Shipping Act Cabotage Law) on all offshore oil installations and structures is for the protection of the economy as well as improved national security and public safety.
This was the view of the Head of Cabotage Services of the Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Capt Sunday Umoren, in his paper, “Perspective of Cabotage on offshore operations presented during a forum in Port Harcourt.
Umoren noted that cabotage is about national interest and not a company or person or an agency, adding that it is a business, trade or navigation in costal waters with an exclusive right of a country to operate within its territory and defend its economy.
According to him, there are potential cabotage opportunities such as empowerment of Nigerian shipowers, seafarers and investors, pointing out that enforcement of the provisions has a vast scope of services in the cabotage trade as it prioritised opportunity for wholly Nigerian-owned, fully Nigerian manned and wholly Nigerian-built vessels.
He further noted that it will promote indigenous investment in the oil and gas industries, marine transport sectors as well as impact on the Gross Domestic Production (GDP) through revenue accruing to the government, provide employment opportunities for Nigerian seafarers, investment in allied services and improved activities in our waterfronts and littorals.
The Cabotage boss of NIMASA also hinted that the domiciliation of diverse earnings would be translated to increase in purchasing power of Nigerians with more tonnage being translated to more revenue to have a stronger voice in the international Maritime Organisation (IMO), as well as create opportunities for Nigerians to own diversified fleet, to bareboat in short and long-term charters and in shipment of petroleum products.
Umoren said despite the challenges and statement in the discussion with International Oil Companies (IOC’s) on the application of Cabotage Act to Floating Petroleum Storage Offshore (FPSO) and other offshore drilling services.