Olisa Agbakoba Legal Maritime Team paid a courtesy visit to Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).
At the meeting, the Partner and Head of the Maritime Unit, Olisa Agbakoba Legal, Mrs Ify Akerele introduced her team members and also thanked the NIMASA ship registrar for receiving them
In her welcoming address, The Ship Registrar, Mrs. Nneka Obianyor gave a welcome address to the OAL Maritime team. She introduced herself and the other 13 members of her team present at the meeting.
After the introduction, Mrs Nneka gave a short lecture on the role and duties of the ship registry to include protecting Nigerian vessel owners and ensuring registration of ships within Nigerian waters; the requirement of registration for flag ships and the need for registration of ships under Cabotage act. In her lecture, she explained that the registry runs a closed register and has 3000 vessels with 2700 vessels being functional. She spoke on reforms of the registry including the automation of the ship registry to reduce paper works and the use of QR codes to verify authenticity of documents.
She also explained the relationship of the registry with other departments of NIMASA including the Surveyors at the Nigerian Maritime Resource Center, Kirikiri, Apapa who assist to determine the seaworthiness of vessels before such vessels are registered. Members of the OAL Maritime team engaged the members of the ship registry with interacting questions.
Ms. Omobola Akinmurele, a member of the Ship Registry while addressing OAL’s delegate on mortgage and financing as an ancillary function of the Ship registry highlighted the timeline for obtaining certificate of mortgage, process of obtaining certificate of mortgage and the document required.
She also distributed copies of the form for registration and the blank certificate for viewing. She advised the team to provide advice to banks to physically inspect vessels to be mortgaged and emphasize that the method of retaining mortgage certificates as a means of security is unnecessary as vessel owners can swear an affidavit for loss of certificate and obtain a new certificate.
The team asked various questions on upstamping, discharge of mortgage, challenges faced by the registry, and the ways lawyers can assist to make the ship registry work easier.
Mrs Nneka, another member of the Ship Registry gave a tour of the ship registry and the records department.
OAL maritime team is the first law firm to visit NIMASA for proper understanding of the work done beyond academic knowledge.