OAL has been instructed by the Nigerian Chamber of Shipping, Nigerian Indigenous Ship Owners Association of Nigeria, Ship Owners Association of Nigeria and other leading stakeholders in the Nigerian Maritime Industry to commence a class action to arrest the over 2,500 foreign vessels operating in Nigeria’s coastal waters illegally to the detriment of Nigerian vessels.
The aim of the class action is to enforce the provisions of the Coastal and Inland Shipping (Cabotage) Act which was enacted with the Primary Objective of reserving the commercial transportation of goods and services within Nigerian Coastal and Inland waters to vessels flying the Nigerian flag and owned by persons of Nigerian citizenship.
Contrary to the intendment of the Cabotage Act, available statistics reveal that more than 60% of Coastal and Inland trade especially in Nigeria’s oil and gas sector is still been handled by foreign vessels and subsidiaries of International Oil Companies without obtaining the required statutory waivers thereby giving rise to the flight of foreign exchange. This has led to the loss of trillions in revenue for Nigerian ship owners, the non-development of local capacity in the sector, and the loss of employment opportunities to Nigerians, including seafarers, vessel operators and other contractors who operate in the maritime sector.
Consequently, the Nigerian Chamber of Shipping, Nigerian Indigenous Ship Owners Association of Nigeria, Ship Owners Association of Nigeria and other leading stakeholders have resolved to engage OAL to immediately commence the arrest of the over 2,500 foreign vessels operating in Nigeria’s coastal waters illegally in violation of the Cabotage Act, 2003.