National Maritime Laws

Shipping is perhaps the most international of all the world’s great industries – and one of the most dangerous. It has always been recognized that the best way of improving safety at sea is by developing National/International regulations that are followed within/outside shipping nations.

  • Merchant Shipping Act 2007 – This is the apex maritime legislation, and it makes provision for registration and licensing of ship, ship mortgage, competency of masters and crew, and employment of seamen. It also contains provisions relative to pollution, safety at sea, ship survey, liability and damages in collision cases, tonnage measurement, load lines, limitation of liability for maritime claims, removal of wreck and salvage.
  • Coastal and Inland shipping (Cabotage) Act 2003 – The Act was enacted to restrict the use of foreign vessels in Nigeria’s domestic coastal trade and promote the development of indigenous tonnage. It also establishes a cabotage vessel financing fund. The fund is yet to be disbursed till date.
  • Admiralty Jurisdiction Act 1991, and Admiralty Jurisdiction Procedure Rules 2011 – The act fleshes out the delimitation of the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court in Admiralty matters, as provided under the Nigerian constitution. It regulates matters such as arrest of ships, maritime claims, and liens.
  • The carriage of Goods by sea act 2004; and the carriage of Goods by sea (Ratification and Enforcement) Act 2005 – The former incorporates the Hage Rules into Nigerian law, and the latter domesticates the Hamburg Rules. The 2005 did not reapeal the 2004 Act, and there have been some suggestions that both rules are applicable, simultaneously, in Nigeria. The rules are international conventions primarily concerned with cargo claims and regulating the rights and duties of shippers, carriers and cosignees of marine cargo.
  • The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency Act 2007 (NIMASA) Act – The NIMASA Act is another law that governs maritime-related matters in Nigeria. It was established to promote maritime safety and security, protection in the maritime environment, shipping registration, and commercial shipping and maritime labour. The Act also established the Nigerian Maritime Administration asn Safety Agency (NIMASA) in Section 3 of the Act, as the Agency responsible for executing the provisions of the Act.

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