FG notifies Customs, NNPC, others as ban on importation of Cabotage Vessels gets deadlines





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The Federal Government has notified its agencies including the Nigeria Customs Service, the Central Bank of Nigeria, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board amongst others of its planned total ban on the importation of some categories of vessels for cabotage trade from December 2020.

The listed agencies are expected to begin enforcement of the policy upon the expiration of stated deadlines, considering the two schedules of vessels restricted.

Under schedule one, Fishing Trawlers of all sizes will no longer be allowed into Nigeria from the end of December 2020, while the importation of Barges and Tug Boats is banned from the end of December 2021.

Offshore Supply Vessels, Houses Boats, Tankers below 10,000 GRT and Security Patrol Boats are also affected and would not be allowed into the country from the end of December 2022.

Schedule two affects Offshore Support Vessels namely AHT larger than 5,000bnp with dynamic positioning PSV and Offshore Construction Vessels -Derrick Crane Vessels , Pipe/Cable Vessel, Surf Laying, Dive Support Vessel.

The aforementioned vessels are banned from the end of December 2023 while the Drag Head Suction Hopper, Dredger Suction Hopper , Trailing Suction  Hopper Dredger are restricted entry from the end of December 2024.

Also banned from December 2024 are Heavy Floating Cranes, Heavy Crane Badge, Survey Salvage Vessels, Seismic Survey Vessels, Geophysical Survey Vessels, Jack up Rigs, Semi submersible rig, Deepwater Drillships, Tender assist Rigs and Swamp Barge rigs.

On Manning of Cabotage vessels, it has been approved that under Schedule one, “Crew other than Master , Chief Engineer and Chief Mate” must with immediate effect be Nigerians while for all vessels in Schedule two, the Masters , Chief Engineers and Chief Mates must be Nigerians from the end of December 2023.

Director General of Nigerian Maritime Administration & Safety Agency (NIMASA) Dr Dakuku Peterside in a discussion, confirmed the news as part of the Agency’s five-year strategic paln for the cessation of grant of Cabotage waivers.

Dr Peterside said the Agency is convinced the decision to end waivers on the importation of the categories of vessels mentioned would grow local capacity.

He disclosed that discussions had been held with some foreign manufacturers who have indicated interest in building such vessels in- country.

Section 14 (2) of the Coastal and Inland Shipping (Cabotage ) Act 2003 allows the Agency  review the  Act after five years of commencement by the National Assembly .

This decision follows the first review of the waiver regime that has existed since the inception of Cabotage trade over 12 years.