The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, has said it detained a Liquefied Petroleum Gas vessel, MT Navigator Capricorn, for contravening sections of the country’s cabotage Act as part of its efforts at clamping down on vessels that do not comply with the provisions of the Cabotage Compliance Strategy.
The agency said in a statement on Sunday: “The vessel was first boarded on October 2018 and all infractions of Cabotage non-compliance were noted and communicated accordingly to the charterer/owners representatives with a 90-day grace period to comply. The 90 days expired on January 31, 2019. It is noteworthy that the owners made an undertaking to remedy the notable infractions when the vessel was issued a detention warning in October 2018.
“While NIMASA is currently engaging the owners and charterers of the vessel on the need to comply with the laws of the land, MT Navigator Capricorn has been moved to the Lagos Anchorage to allow space for other LPG vessels to discharge at the NOJ Jetty.”
The New Cabotage Compliance Strategy, introduced in 2017 by NIMASA, is aimed at allowing more Nigerians to participate in the maritime sector and to prevent foreigners from engaging in jobs that Nigerians are qualified to execute.
Under the NCCS, waivers are denied shipping companies operating in Nigeria, who want to employ foreigners as second officers, second engineers, second mates, able seamen, ratings and stewards.
According to the Director-General, NIMASA, Dr Dakuku Peterside, special applications would be considered on merit, but on the condition that such organisation planned to train a Nigerian, and put in place a transition plan to ensure that the Nigerian took over the job within one year.
“There shall be no sacred cow when we commence clampdown on erring vessels. We want to increase the number of Nigerians who participate in the marine aspect of your business and we are working closely with the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board to have a joint categorisation of vessels operating under the Cabotage Act in order to ensure the full implementation of the Act,” Peterside was quoted as saying in the statement.
Oil prices fell by around 1 per cent on Monday as drilling activity in the United States, the world’s largest oil producer, picked up and financial markets were pulled down by trade concerns.
A refinery fire in the U.S. state of Illinois, which resulted in the shutdown of a large crude distillation unit, that could cause crude demand to fall also weighed on prices, traders said.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at 52.09 dollars per barrel at 0347 GMT, down 63 cents, or 1.2 per cent, from their last settlement.
International Brent crude oil futures were down 49 cents, or 0.8 per cent , at 61.61 dollars a barrel.
In the United States, energy firms last week increased the number of oil rigs operating for the second time in three weeks, a weekly report by Baker Hughes said on Friday.
Companies added seven oil rigs in the week to Feb. 8, bringing the total count to 854, pointing to a further rise in U.S. crude production, which already stands at a record 11.9 million bpd.
WTI prices were also weighed down by the closure of a 120,000-barrels-per-day (bpd) crude distillation unit (CDU) at Phillips 66’s Wood River, Illinois, refinery following a fire on Sunday.
Elsewhere, the head of Russian oil giant Rosneft, Igor Sechin, has written to the Russian President Vladimir Putin saying Moscow’s deal with the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to withhold output is a strategic threat and plays into the hands of the United States.
The so-called OPEC+ deal has been in place since 2017, aimed at reining in a global supply overhang.
It has been extended several times and, under the latest deal, participants are cutting output by 1.2 million bpd until the end of June.
OPEC and its allies will meet on April 17 and 18 in Vienna to review the pact. Analysts said economic concerns were also weighing on crude oil futures.
Vandana Hari of Vanda Insights said in a note that crude prices were dragged down “as China returned from a week-long Lunar New Year holiday and regional stock markets plunged into the red amid resurgent concerns over the U.S.-China trade dispute.”
Trade talks between the Washington and Beijing resume this week with a delegation of U.S. officials travelling to China for the next round of negotiations.
The United States has threatened to increase tariffs already imposed on goods from China on March 1 if the trade talks do not produce an agreement.
Preventing crude prices from falling further have been U.S. sanctions on Venezuela, targeting its state-owned oil firm Petroleos de Venezeula SA (PDVSA).
“The issues in Venezuela continue to support prices. Reports are emerging that PDVSA is scrambling to secure new markets for its crude after the U.S. placed additional sanctions on the country,” ANZ bank said on Monday.