Nigerian ship-owners has secured temporary relief from International Maritime Organization, IMO ultimatum for phasing out of Single hull vessels this year as the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA yesterday extended it by five years.
The agency which granted the ship-owners the reprieve, said it was in exercise of powers granted to it by IMO, as flag state agency.
Confirming this, the NIMASA Director General, Patrick Ziakede Akpobolokemi noted that the decision was taken in line with the provision of the IMO which allows member states which lacked the capacity to replace their existing single hull tanker fleet to extend the phase out date of certain categories of tankers in their countries, provided the vessels do not engage in international trade.
“Our decision to extend the final phase-out date for all single hull tankers registered under the Nigerian flag administration to December 31, 2020 was to give more time for fleet replacement by Nigerian ship owners and also develop greater capacity to handle scrapping of vessels in the country,” indicated Akpobolokemi.
“Under the new arrangement, all renewal certificates to be issued during the extension period will be for only two years, and such vessels must not be more than 35 years by the end of 2015.This is contrary to the existing five-year tenure for renewal of certificates, while registration of new single hull tankers has ceased henceforth.
“All tankers that will benefit from this extension must possess valid classification and statutory certificates, including a valid Condition Assessment Scheme certificate issued by NIMASA, and they are not permitted to engage in international trade as their certificate extension only covers trade within Nigerian waters”, the Director General explained further, giving the new enforcement date for single hull as December 31, 2020.
He said he was conscious of the fact that over 80 percent of all Nigerian tankers are currently single hull, in addition, to recognising the factors constraining Nigerian ship owners from replacing all existing single hull tanker fleet by 2015, hence, the necessity for the extension.
The NIMASA boss expressed the hope that the extension of the initial IMO deadline would assist the ship-owners in sustaining the development of the Nigerian maritime industry while boosting both the gains of the Cabotage laws and local content Act.
The Nigerian Pilot gathered that only Nigerian registered Single Hull tankers are allowed to benefit from this extension, while all foreign registered Single Hull tankers would no longer be allowed to trade in Nigerian waters with effect from 1st May, 2015.
It was further learnt, that the agency, in furtherance of this decision, would soon organise a maritime stakeholders’ forum to clarify concerns on this directive, especially on the phase-out schedule for single hull tankers in Nigeria.
It would be recalled that the IMO set 1st May, 2015 as the deadline,, a few years back.

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