Chevron Nigeria Limited refuses to recognise classified societies appointed by NIMASA to conduct statutory surveys on ships
| By Pita Ochai | Dec. 10, 2012 @ 01:00 GMT
CHEVRON Nigeria Limited and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, are on war path. Chevron, an international oil company in the country, has refused to recognise two classification societies approved by NIMASA to conduct statutory surveys on its behalf on ships which are 500 gross registered tonnage, GRT, and above.
NIMASA, had in a Marine notice, published six recognised societies namely: American Bureau of Shipping, ABS, Bureau Veritas, BV, Det Norske Veritas, DNV, Lloyds Register, LR, International Naval Survey Bureau, INSB, and International Register of Shipping, IRS. The marine notice was published in June this year but Chevron refused to abide by the rule of the nation’s apex maritime body.
In a recent counter Marine notice to NIMASA signed by Philip Rafferty, a marine expert and senior compliance manager, upstream marine assurance, the oil company omitted INSB and IRS from the list of classification societies recognised by the oil company. Many Nigerian owned ships are classified by INSB and IRS, the two societies omitted by Chevron.
Akin Olaniyan, managing director, INSB, has described the action of Chevron as mischievous. To him, Chevron, which is a private entity, cannot determine the classification societies that should be recognised by operators in the country. He explained that it is only a country’s flag administrator that is empower to determined classification societies. The management of IRS seems not to be bothered by the action of Chevron. According to it, what matters in the industry is to be recognised by the International Maritime Organisation, IMO and NIMASA.
The Indigenous Shipowners Association of Nigeria, ISAN, has kicked against Chevron’s action, describing it as a move to entrench discrimination against vessels owned by Nigerians. Niyi Labinjo, the general secretary, ISAN, has demanded that Chevron should withdraw the Marine notice immediately as it is inconsistent with what was published by NIMASA in June this year.
The conduct of statutory surveys on behalf of NIMASA is to enable it have proper documentation of ships owned by Nigerians. After the classification societies were named, NIMASA gave a period of three months for ship owners, operators and shipping agents to classify their vessels or risk de-flagging from the Nigerian waters.
Despite the approval it granted to the classification societies, NIMASA is still responsible for the survey and issuance of cargo ship safety equipment, safety radio and minimum safe manning certificates and document to vessels classified by the other classification societies. The Annex 2 of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, SOLAS, prescribes the certificates and documents required on board different categories of ship.