Owners of abandoned ships that impede navigation on Nigerian waterways may lose them as Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) is set to declare the ships as wrecks.
Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, disclosed this in Lagos when he addressed the press on the agency’s activities in the last one year.
Peterside said that the agency would soon issue a 30-day Marine Notice to be published for the knowledge of all stakeholders to enable owners of such vessels remove them from navigable channels.
The NIMASA DG had disclosed that the agency was in the process of reviewing the entire process of wreck removal to enhance efficiency.
The new move is part of NIMASA’s plan to remove all wrecks on the country’s waterways. Peterside had announced that the agency would be carrying out the exercise in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Transportation.
According to him, “NIMASA is working under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Transportation to review wreck removal process to make Nigerian navigable waters safer for navigation by all. Once we get the consent of the Federal Ministry of Transportation, we will put out Marine Notice to that effect.”
Peterside noted that the Nairobi Convention provides for the process via which a ship could be declared a wreck, adding that the agency had been following the law diligently.
While acknowledging that the challenge of wreck on Nigerian waterways is a challenge inherited by the current administration at NIMASA, Peterside assured Nigerians that the implementation of the reviewed process will serve as a catalyst to boost wreck removal from Nigerian waterways.
The Nairobi Convention on wreck removal of 2007, which came into force on April 14, 2015, states that if a ship is declared wreck, the country’s maritime administration should publish information to that effect.
The owner of the wreck is expected to remove it within a certain period and if they don’t, it is declared a wreck and the maritime administration can now remove it and the owners can pay surcharge and pick up the wreck.
Alternatively, the maritime administration can sell the wreck, dispose of them and cover the money spent in getting the wreck out.
After a certain period nobody claims ownership of the wreck, then it is forfeited to the maritime administration of the country.