OML 40: Indigenous ship-owners accuse British vessel of flouting Nigerian laws

November 26, 2020
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INDIGENOUS ship-owners under the aegis of the Ship Owners Association of Nigeria (SOAN) have accused a British owned and Marshal Island flagged oil tanker vessel, MT Harcourt (IMO No: 9112131) of flouting Nigerian Cabotage laws in the OML40 fields located in the Niger Delta region of the country.

In a letter dated November 5, 2020, and addressed to the Executive Secretary, Nigerian Content Development & Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Simbi Wabote; the SOAN lamented that despite not being registered on the NCDMB Vessel Categorisation platform and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Cabotage Register, MT. Harcourt has been carrying out production evacuation at the Gbetiokun production facility in OML40.

According to the letter which was made available to the Nigerian Tribune, “The Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) through its Joint Venture partner, Elcrest Exploration and Production Nigeria Limited had deployed the British owned and Marshal Island flagged vessel, MT Harcourt to carry out production evacuation at Gbetiokun Early Production. The owner of MT Harcourt is Union Maritime Limited.

“We hereby draw your attention to the continued non-compliance to the provision of the NOGICD and Cabotage Acts by MT Harcourt. The NOGICD and Cabotage Acts provide for the restriction of vessels engaged in domestic coastal trade to wholly-owned, manned, and registered Nigerian vessels in-order to develop local capacities.

“We have confirmed that MT Harcourt is not registered on the NCDMB Vessel Categorisation platform and the NIMASA Cabotage Register. Furthermore, NCDMB has not issued any waiver to MT Harcourt to operate in the OML 40 fields. Even the Minister of Transportation recently said no waiver has been issued to any foreign vessel to carry out such an operation being carried out by MT Harcourt.

“We therefore note that MT Harcourt, being non-Cabotage compliant, has deprived Nigerian ship-owners lucrative opportunities to grow our indigenous capacities, create jobs and discourage massive capital flight.

“We therefore crave your indulgence to investigate this bold act of non-compliance while taking immediate steps to stop Messrs Elcrest Exploration and Production Nigeria Limited from causing further harm to indigenous shipping development in Nigeria.”

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