IN a bid to bring about operational efficiency in the Nigerian maritime and port industry, the House of Representatives has passed three major maritime bills which are currently with the Senate for concurrence.
Speaking to news men, Chairman, House Committee on Maritime Safety, Education and Administration, Honourable Lynda Chuba-Ikpeazu, named the bills as Cabotage Bill, Merchant Shipping Bill and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Bill.
Ikpeazu explained that these bills have been amended and passed accordingly, adding that the bills were passed shortly before the Christmas break.
She said the new laws will be made public after the legislative processes were concluded.
She stated: “They have been passed by the House, they are going to go to the Senate this new year for concurrence.
“This is the first time since 2007 that we have had more than one maritime legislation being amended and passed. Cabotage majorly is taking care of a lot of issues after several years of operation. There are issues that are still affecting the implementation.
“For NIMASA, things that were found to be problematic were adjusted and for Merchant Shipping, the law makers made sure that conventions are domesticated. The 2007 Merchant Shipping Act was basically inherited from the United Kingdom because the previous was the pre-independence legislation of 1955 that was adopted under what is known as Status of General Application.
“This one is a fine-tuned modern Merchant Shipping Act which takes into consideration a lot of things regarding the crew, vessel registration and a lot of other things.
“Vessels have changed over time and those old legislations did not accommodate certain peculiarities that we have now.
Speaking on the development, a maritime lawyer, Mr Osuala Nwagbara, said that the passage of these bills as amended is a good development as these new laws will drive the nation’s maritime economy.