By Blackfriars LLP, Nigeria
For over a year now NIMASA has refused to remove over a dozen merchant tankers that were grounded by strong tides despite the fact that the Federal Government had approved over $1.7 million for their removal.
Section 381(1) of the Merchant Shipping Act 2007 says “Subject to the provisions if any other enactment or law relating to ports, where any vessel is sunk stranded or abandoned
in any port, navigable river or tidal water within Nigeria or in near any approach to any port, navigable river or tidal water, in a manner as in the opinion of the Receiver if Wreck, to be or to be likely to become an obstruction or danger to navigation, the Receiver of Wreck:
(a) May take possession of and raise, remove or destroy, the whole or any part of the vessel;
(b) May light or buoy any such vessel or part of the vessel, until the raising removal or destruction of the vessel
The Act has made it the duty of the Receiver of Wreck to remove or destroy the whole or any part of the vessel when abandoned.
Implication of abandoned wreck is dangerous for our water and environment considering that they are on the navigational routes. Floods and erosion are imminent in Lagos communities if they are not removed before the rainy season.
Parts of the duties as a member of International Maritime Organization (IMO) are to ensure protection of the maritime environment and its security among others. Therefore it is important for NIMASA to clear the navigational channels of abandoned vessels that are hazardous to safe navigation.
Clearing the wrecked ships will ensure avoidance of erosion and flood which will prevent loss of lives and properties thereby preventing economic loss. Unhindered movement of cargoes within and outside the country will be enhanced. This will ultimately improve the revenue that will accrue to the coffers of the country.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ms. Bolanle Opadokun
Blackfriars LLP is a first class Nigerian law firm with special expertise in trademarks registration and and patents prosecution, commercial Litigation, energy law, and capital markets transactions, respectively. A fundamental principle underpinning our success is our unshakeable conviction that the practice of law is a privilege that carries with it the solemn responsibility to apply our talents for the benefit of our clients.
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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author