Following the recent incident involving the Majestic Rig belonging to Depthwize Nigeria Limited, which capsized at Ovhor in Warri, Delta State, oil rigs owners who hitherto shunned the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA are now running to the agency for registration and necessary approvals.
Recall that after the Majestic Rig incident, NIMASA had in a statement signed by the Head, Public Relations, Mr. Osagie Edward on the incident stated that initial findings had confirmed that the ill-fated Rig was Panama Flagged and had been operating on Nigerian waters since 2016 without requisite approvals from the Agency, a development many blamed on the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, another government agency.
Confirming the development, a former National President, Nigerian Merchant Navy Officers and Water Transport Senior Staff Association, Comrade Matthew Alalade said that since the Majestic Rig incident, many of those who didn’t regard NIMASA initially were now coming forward for registration in order for them not to lose their insurance.
Alalade recalled that before now, the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR would want to regulate them even when it had no mandate to do so since it was the responsibility of NIMASA to regulate platform floating on the Nigerian waters.
According to him, “There are times, as a surveyor, when you want to go into a vessel to do your job, they will ask you to go and get authorization from the DPR which is not proper. They are the ones who ought to get approvals from NIMASA; it is not the other way round. They should come to NIMASA to get approval before they go onboard.They should come to NIMASA for the agency to ascertain that they had the requisite qualifications to go onboard and not for NIMASA officials to go and get DPR approvals before they go onboard.
“So, the DPR is regulating those aspects, they won’t allow NIMASA full access to carry on with her duty. Again, these vessels came into Nigerian waters flying foreign flags, We have many of them like that. NIMASA only could regulate them under Port State Control. It is not that NIMASA does not know that they operate, they know, they regulate them as port state control but they don’t allow NIMASA access to do their job properly. DPR will always say that they are in charge.
“Anything maritime regulation falls under the purview of NIMASA, it is not for DPR to regulate the safety, navigational or the stationary aspect of maritime. DPR may have a Marine Department but that does not make it a maritime authority. DPR has been doing this for a long time.”
On why NIMASA did intervene during the incident, fully aware that DPR would always obstruct its mandate, Alalade said, “NIMASA must intervene because the incident happened in our environment. So, anything that has to do with safety of lives and investment on the water, NIMASA must respond”
Asked to know why NIMASA failed to draw the government’ attention to the obstruction of its duty by the DPR, he said, “The government knows, they only allowed the DPR to do this with impunity but now that an incident has occurred, they will allow NIMASA to do her job as regards safety. With what happened now, the Ministry will wake up to its responsibility.”
Photo: Majestic Rig belonging to Depthwize Nigeria Limited, which capsized at Ovhor in Warri, Delta State recently.
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