The Managing Director, Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas Ship Management Limited, Abdulkadir Ahmed, has said the firm is working hard to ensure that vessels bearing the Nigerian flag can sail the global waters. Currently, Nigerianflagged ships are not engaged in international trade. Ahmed said this development was very unfortunate and a cause for concern among stakeholders in the maritime industry as well as the Nigerian government.
“That is why we are working hard in collaboration with the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to build both the regulatory and operational capacity that will make Nigerianflagged vessels acceptable on the global waters,” he stated. While disclosing this to a cross section of the media in Lagos yesterday, Ahmed said the most important thing to consider in making sure vessels with Nigerian flags were at the high seas would be for the flag to be accepted on the global level. He said for this to happen, the vessels must meet global standards for vessels engaged in international trade.
He stated: “To be accepted globally, it is important that you have the right regulatory structure to maintain standards in ship building and maintenance and effectively monitor and ensure that Nigerianflagged vessels are up to global standards. “Flagging the vessel is what we all desire to do; but first, we need to build the vessel to a stage where it is accepted globally. “We want to flag vessels, but we want to flag them so that they will be accepted.” He equally lamented the absence of dry docking facilities for the large NLNG vessels, which necessitated their being serviced in Asia at very exorbitant cost.
He said: “It would be cheaper to dry dock the NLNG vessels here in Nigeria, but there are no such facilities for the large vessels. “This has resulted in the company spending huge sums of money on ship maintenance in Malaysia and other places.” Giving a review of the work of the NSML, he said the firm that is into vessel building, supervision and guidance, started as an inhouse service provider to the NLNG, but had expanded and was now providing world class maritime service to companies other than NLNG. The services provided by NSML include manning, fleet management, training, terminal management, maritime consultancy and project management, he stated.
He said the NSML was the largest employer of seafarers in Nigeria, 600 of them, comprising 85 per cent Nigerians and 15 per cent foreigners. He explained that one of the greatest achievements of the NSML was taking delivery of the LPG vessel that came into Nigeria from South Korea in March 2020, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said it was the first LPG vessel built by a Nigerian and chartered to NLNG. Speaking further, Ahmed shed light on the NSML’s initiative, which is the reduction of plastic pollution of the marine space. Describing the initiative as very important to NLNG, he said the company was still at the forefront of creating awareness and advocacy, pushing regulatory agencies towards ensuring that people stop dumping plastic wastes along the waterways.