NIMASA threatens to detain NLNG vessels

By The Citizen

The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency said it had served detention notices and orders on vessels belonging to or chartered by the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas Company Limited.

The Deputy Director/Head, Public Relations, NIMASA, Mr. Isichei Osamgbi, said in a statement on Saturday that the action followed the failure of NLNG to abide by the outcome of the negotiated settlement on its outstanding debt.

Osamgbi said NLNG paid $20m out of its debt, but lamented that the gas company had continued to disregard Nigerian laws.

NIMASA had on May 4, 2013, blocked the NLNG Bonny terminal in Rivers State over non-payment of the statutory three per cent levy on every freight entering or leaving the country through its territorial waters.

After mediation by the Federal Government, NLNG was directed to pay the outstanding levies.

But NLNG said it had filed a case at the Federal High Court, Lagos against NIMASA, seeking judicial clarity and interpretation on the legality or otherwise of the various levies imposed on it by the agency.

Contrary to NLNG's position, Osamgbi said NIMASA was not aware of any court order against it or any suit brought by the company against the agency.

A statement by the NLNG's General Manager, External Relations Mr. Kudo Eresia-Eke, on Saturday said, 'The potential implications of this current action by NIMASA on NLNG operations are enormous and would impact negatively on its international LNG buyers, the international financial market, Nigeria to which NLNG contributes four per cent of the country's GDP, its shareholders and the investment climate in Nigeria, let alone the reputational impact this may have on Nigeria's image within the international investment community.'