Step By Step Guide on how to register a ship in Nigeria (2)

By Foluke Akinmoladun

Procedure for Registration

•The owner of the Ship or their agents will submit a letter of application addressed to the Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) indicating their interest in registering a ship in Nigeria;
•Complete and submit application for Ship name approval Form at the Ship Registry;
•Payment of statutory fees on the gross tonnage of the Ship to Director-General of NIMASA for Ship Condition Survey;
•The Registrar of Ships nominates a Maritime Surveyor to carry out the Ship condition survey;
•The Maritime Inspectorate Division (MID) under the Government Inspector of Shipping (GIS) will either the American Bureau of Shipping, Bureau Veritas, Germanischer Lloyd, or Lloyd’s Register of Shipping to Classify the Ship;
•Complete the Declaration of Ownership (NIMASA Form 1) deposed before a Commissioner for Oath at the Federal High Court and submit at NIMASA;
•Complete Application Form for Registration (NIMASA Form 2) and submit at NIMASA with the following documents:

Required Documents (not all documents are required of individual owners in Nigeria)
•Copy of Certificate of Incorporation;
•Certified True Copy of Company Memorandum and Articles of Association;
•Certified True Copy of Form CAC 7 (Particulars of Directors);
•Certified True Copy of Form CAC 2 (Allotment of Shares of a Share Capital which shall not be less than Twenty Five Million Naira[N25,000,000]);
•Current Tax Clearance Certificate;
•Duly completed Declaration of Ownership Form;
•Bank Statement/Reference Letter;
•Applicable waiver certificate;
•Certificate of Nigerian Ship Registry;
•Cabotage Affidavit Form;
•Crew list declaration;
•Evidence of payment of Fees and
•Certificate of Registration of Shipping Company with NIMASA

The Registrar of Ships after being satisfied that the applicant has met all the registration requirements and duly completed the process, will then enroll the Ship in the Register of Cabotage Vessels and Ship Owning Companies of Nigeria.

More interestingly is the fact that where applicants are able to provide all the required documents in good time, the registration process may not take more than 2 weeks. However, the regulation time frame for provisional registration is a maximum period of 6 months. The maximum amount for Ship registration in Nigeria and for national carriers precisely is about N1,000,000 (One Million Naira) Also worthy of note is the fact that Parallel registration is not permitted. Furthermore, if full control of the ship and the owner-company is 100 per cent beneficially held by Nigerian citizens, the Ship’s crew and officers are Nigerian seafarers and the Ship is built in Nigeria, Ministerial Waiver on some registration procedure and even fees may be granted as the case may be.

•Grounds for refusal of Registration
The application for registration of a Ship may be on the following grounds:
•Non-compliance or partial compliance with the mandatory registration requirements of the Merchant Shipping Act 2007;
•If the Ship name sought to be registered is already registered, prohibited, offensive, malicious or contradicts public policy;
•Failure to provide any of the required documents and
Failure to survey the Ship and effect Tonnage ascertainment.

Finally, it is mandatory that every Ship and Shipping Company engaged in coastal shipping must be registered in the relevant register. Vessels and Companies that were previously registered at the Nigerian Shipping Registry and now intend to partake in coastal trade must also be registered in the relevant Cabotage Register in Nigeria.


Foluke Akinmoladun is a lawyer, accountant, mediator and arbitrator. She is the Managing Solicitor of Trizon Law Chambers and can be reached at: