25 January 2013

Nigeria: NCDMB Warns Chevron Over Discriminating Against Indigenous Shipping Firms

The Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) has warned one of the international oil companies operating in Nigeria, Chevron Nigeria Ltd, over its perceived discrimination against Nigerian shipping firms in awarding its oil lifting businesses.

In a letter to the managing director of the oil firm, the local content board said such "discrimination is a violation of Section 3(2) of the NCDMB Act."

The NCDMB wrote the oil company in a response to a petition written by the Indigenous Ship-owners Association of Nigeria (ISAN), and directed Chevron to withdraw a marine notice it published to counter the one published by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).

The letter, with reference number: NCDMB/ES/18/13, dated January 14, 2013, and signed by the Executive Secretary, Mr Ernest Nwapa, said that the Board in collaboration with NIMASA was empowered by law to enforce the Cabotage Act (the local shipping Act, 2003) in matters pertaining to Nigerian Content Development.

The letter reads in part, "The Board's attention has been drawn to a letter by the Indigenous Ship owners Association of Nigeria to Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL) demanding that you withdraw a Marine Notice: NMA SBU Marine Notice 2010/02 by you dated 7th December 2011.

"As stated in the letter, the referred Marine Notice issued by CNL gave preference to certain classification societies and has been the reason for discrimination against the vessels belonging to Nigerian ship owners.

"The discrimination against Nigerian Ship owners' Association is in violation of section 3(2) of the NOGICD Act 2010 which stipulates that first consideration shall be given to Nigerian companies. Furthermore, Section 105 of the NOGICD Act 2010 empowers the Board in conjunction with NIMASA to enforce compliance with relevant sections of the Cabotage Act in relation to matters pertaining to Content Development.

"In view of the aforementioned, the Board urges CNL to withdraw the said Marine Notice and adopt the Classification Societies authorised by NIMASA."

Meanwhile, NIMASA has released certain guidelines on pollution emanating from ship to ship transfer of oil.

In a public notice published on Tuesday on amendments to the annex of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) protocol of 1978 on ship to ship transfer procedure in Nigerian waters and exclusive economic zone, which became effective in April 2012, the agency reminded shippers and shipowners that all ship-to-ship transfers of oil not meant for direct consumption of either vessels involved in the operation within the Nigerian exclusive economic zone (EEZ) should adhere strictly to the guidelines.

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