20yrs after, Reps move to review 3 key maritime laws

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IN a bid to make the Nigerian maritime industry competitive, the House of Representatives Committee on Maritime Safety, Education and Administration has concluded plans to review three key maritime legislations.

The legislations are the Nigerian Merchant Shipping Act, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA Act and the Coastal and Inland Shipping Act, otherwise known as the Cabotage law. The laws were enacted between 2003 and 2007.

A source close to the Committee said Maritime Report that the Cabotage law revision is as a result of identified loopholes in the operation of the law. According to the source this is the first major multiple legislation action in the maritime sector while explaining, ‘‘when you legislate a law, one has foresight but when it comes to the operations of the law, one now develop hindsight.’’The source said a public hearing with a view to taking stakeholders’ input into consideration, will likely take place between the first quarter of this year, Q1’22.

He stated further, ‘‘The Merchant Shipping Act was enacted in 2007 and at that time, it was necessary since the previous Merchant Shipping Act was a 1962 law which itself was an old British law, and it was not relevant in modern day shipping. Since then, a lot of innovations have taken place.‘‘The NIMASA Act came into being in 2007 and this was primarily a merger of the defunct Nigerian Maritime Authority, NMA, and the Joint Maritime Labour Industrial Council, JOMALIC, and the Government Inspector of Shipping, GIS. JOMALIC came with maritime labour administration, NMA came with its shipping development administration and GIS came with its maritime safety administration angle.’’

The legislative committee, Vanguard Maritime Report learnt, has already organised a capacity building programme to update the legislators on the current legislations with regards to maritime trade.

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