Legal and Regulatory Framework
In this section, a brief overview of the extant legal and regulatory framework (limited only to principal legislation and potential changes in law) for the maritime industry in Nigeria is provided.
Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Act 2007: NIMASA Act establishes NIMASA and saddles NIMASA with the responsibility of pursuing the development of shipping and regulating matters relating to merchant shipping and seafarers in Nigeria. Other statutory functions of NIMASA include but not limited to: regulation of safety of shipping as regards the construction of ships and navigation; administering the registration and licensing of ships.
The Coastal and Inland Shipping (Cabotage) Act 2003: The Cabotage Act was enacted in response of the increased demand of Nigerian stakeholders within the maritime industry for legislative intervention to stimulate the participation of Nigerians in its domestic coastal trade. The Cabotage Act restricts the use of foreign vessels in domestic coastal trade (including carriage of good and passengers in Nigerian waters), promotes the development of indigenous tonnage and establishes a cabotage vessel financing fund. Specifically, the Cabotage Act precludes a vessel other than a vessel wholly owned and manned by a Nigerian citizens, built and registered in Nigeria from engaging in the domestic coastal carriage of cargo and passengers within the coastal territorial inland waters, or any point within the waters of the exclusive economic zone of Nigeria. The Cabotage Act provides for Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (‘the Fund’) and the Fund is to be used for promoting the development of indigenous ship acquisition capacity by providing financial assistance to Nigerian operators in the domestic coastal shipping.
Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) Act: The NPA Act empowers the NPA to maintain, improve and regulate the use of the ports; ensure the efficient management of port operations; provide and operate ports facilities; form, establish or incorporate subsidiaries or affiliate companies with other persons or organisations for the purpose of carrying out any of its functions.
Merchant Shipping Act, 2007: This Act provides for merchant shipping in Nigeria and allows only registered Nigerian ships to operate commercially in the Nigerian to the exclusion of others except for statutory exempted cases.
Potential Change in Law: There are currently some bills pending before the National Assembly capable of affecting the maritime industry when passed. They include: the Anti-piracy Bill; the Establishment of the Nigerian Marine Development Bank Bill; Inland Fisheries Act (Amendment) Bill 2017; the Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contract (Amendment) Bill 2016; and the Cabotage Act (Amendment Bill) 2017.