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Requirements for the Issuance of Cabotage Waiver

GENERAL STAKEHOLDERS CONFERENCE ON THE IMPLEMENTATION AND GOV. Sections 9 – 11 of the Coastal and Inland Shipping Cabotage Act, 2003 states that to participate in the Cabotage trade a vessel must be registered under one of the following categories;
WHOLLY NIGERIAN OWNED: Documents required are
  1. Relevant Cabotage application forms
  2. Certificate of Nigerian Registry
  3. Detailed crew list
  4. Certificate of minimum safe manning
  5. Evidence of registration of company with NIMASA
  6. Certified true copies of form CAC 2 and CAC 7,
JOINT VENTURE VESSEL: Documents required are
  1. Relevant Cabotage application forms
    Certificate of Registry
  2. Detailed crew list
  3. Certificate of minimum safe manning
  4. Evidence of registration of company with NIMASA
  5. A certified true copy of form CAC 2 and CAC 3
  6. Joint venture agreement
  7. Certificate of incorporation
  8. Memorandum and article of association
  9. Current tax clearance certificate
BARE BOAT CHARTER VESSEL: Documents required are
  1. Relevant Cabotage application forms
  2. Certificate of Registry
  3. Detailed crew list
  4. Certificate of minimum safe manning
  5. Charter-party agreement
  6. Memorandum and article of association
  7. Certificate of incorporation
  8. Current tax clearance certificate
  9. A certified true copy from CAC2, CAC7
  10. Evidence of registration of the company with NIMASA

(as classified in the three groups viz 1, 2, 3 Ref: Pg. 28-31 of the Cabotage Implementation Guidelines based on gross tonnage.): Documents required are:

  1. Relevant Cabotage application forms
  2. Certificate of Registry
  3. Detailed crew list
  4. Certificate of minimum safe manning
  5. Customs TI
  6. Memorandum and Article of Association
  7. Certificate of Incorporation
  8. Current tax clearance certificate
  9. Certified true copy of form CAC2 and CAC3
  1. Application form
  2. Copy of certificate of registry
  3. Declaration of ownership certificate
  4. Completed crew declaration form
    Cabotage licence
  5. Certificate of tonnage measurement
  6. Passenger ship safety certificate
  7. Cargo ship safety certificate
  8. Ship safety equipment certificate
  9. Certificate of minimum safe manning
  10. International safety management certificate
  11. Load line certificate
  12. Survey certificate
  13. Safety radio certificate
  14. Classification certificate
  15. Copy of current certificate of vessel insurance
  16. Certificate of incorporation
  17. Memorandum and article of association
  18. Certified true copy (CTC) of forms CAC7 and CAC2
  19. Current tax clearance certificate
  20. Evidence of registration of shipping company with NIMASA
  21. Proof of payment of registration fees
  22. Undertaking to train a prescribed number of Nigerian cadets.
  1. Formal Letter of Application by the owner or authorized representative
  2. Completed Cabotage Waiver application Forms on oath in a Federal High Court
  3. Cabotage Affidavit Form
  4. Foreign Certificate of Registry FOR FOREIGN Vessels, Nigerian Ship
  5. Registry Certificate for Joint Venture,
  6. Bareboat and Wholly Nigerian Owned category.
  7. Detailed Crew List duly signed and stamped by the Master
  8. Minimum Safe Manning Certificate
  9. Certificate of Incorporation
  10. Memorandum and Articles of Association
  11. CAC 2 & CAC 7 for Wholly Nigerian
  12. Owned Vessel(s), specifying a share capital of not less than N25Million
  13. CAC 2 & CAC 3 for Joint Venture/Bareboat/Foreign Vessel(s), specifying a share capital of N25Million
  14. Current Tax Clearance Certificate
  15. Evidence of registration as a Shipping Company with NIMASA
  16. Evidence of 2% Surcharge payment
  17. Evidence of Nigerian Cadet Training
  18. Evidence of Dry-Docking (If applicable)
  19. Copy of Survey Report for newly imported Vessels
  20. Joint Venture agreement for joint Venture application only.
  21. Bareboat Charter agreement for
  22. Bareboat charter specifying a period of five (5) years and above
  23. Bill of sale or evidence of ownership for wholly Nigerian owned vessels or
  24. Nigeria Ship registry Certificate
  25. Completed Maritime Labour Declaration Form
  1. Charter party agreement (CPA)
  2. Invoices on contracts performed
  3. Cargo Manifest and Bill of Lading for billing on Coastal Product Tankers
  4. Self-assessment (above applicable)
  1. Vessel Log Book
  2. Vessel Port of Call
  3. Vessel Particulars (registry certificates, Safety Equipment
  4. Certificates, Safe manning
  5. Certificates, Builders certificate, Load line Certificates, Tonnage Certificates, Radio Certificate, Insurance Certificates, Classification Certificates, Passenger Ship Safety Certificate, Survey Certificate, Cargo
  6. Ship Safety Certificate.
  7. Waiver Certificate/ Receipts


The Cabotage Department is under the headship of a Director who oversees and coordinates the overall activities of the two main sub-divisions in the Department.
The Department is charged with the responsibility of implementing the Coastal and Inland Shipping (Cabotage) Act 2003. In pursuit of this objective, the Department performs two important and crucial functions in the Agency. Firstly ensuring Cabotage compliance on the part of all operators in the trade and secondly, generation of revenue through payment of 2% surcharge on contract sum as well as fines, etc.
These key functions naturally placed the Department into two broad sub-visions thus Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF) and Trade and Development (T&D) other important functions being carried out by the Department includes:-

  1. Collaborating with relevant Government Agencies on effective implementation of the Cabotage Regime
  2. Application of Guidelines and Regulations in liaison with other Departments/Units of the Agency to ensure seamless procedures and processes;
  3. Promotion of cabotage trade towards ensuring awareness, enlightenment and sensitization amongst stakeholders;
  4. Updating of database on the cabotage operational activities;
  5. Identification of existing facilities (Jetties, Terminals, Platforms, Rigs, Ship/yards);
  6. Facilitate capacity Building and Development for staff and stakeholders on cabotage related issues;
  7. Ensuring that all vessels that engage in coastal shipping in Nigeria are built in Nigeria, owned by Nigerians, manned by Nigerians and registered in Nigeria;
  8. Where a vessel is needed in Nigeria but does not meet any of the above requirements, the Department is to process a waiver application from the charterer on the particular requirement they are seeking to be waived and ensure that no indigenous capacity is available in that area before recommending to the Honourable Minister of Transport for approval;
    In carrying out these functions, the Department is to ensure that the Oil and Gas Industry which is the mainstay of the Nigerian economy and provides over 80% of the cabotage trade business, is not destabilized;
  9. Collection of 2% of the gross contract sum performed by all cabotage vessels in Nigeria, for the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund. This Fund is meant to be used to help indigenous operators acquire vessels to gradually take-over fully from the foreign operators;
    Disbursement of the CVFF to qualified indigenous companies for tonnage capacity building

The underlisted are required by the applicants seeking for CVFF loan:
Section 3.2 of the CVFF Guidelines specifically state that only Nigerian citizens and shipping companies wholly owned by Nigerian citizens as defined by the Act shall be eligible to apply and benefit from the scheme.
To qualify for loan or guarantee under the scheme, in addition to any other requirements set out in the fund or NIMASA, an applicant shall: 
(a)  Prepare suitable feasibility reports which shall be subject to independent verification by NIMASA and the PLIs;
(b)  Pay all registration fees, e.g. registration as a shipping company with NIMASA Cabotage registration etc, and Nigerian flag;
(c)  Provide acceptable equity participation as required for each project application;
(d)  Satisfactory managerial and operational ability;
(e)  Agree with the Primary Lending Institution (PLIs) in the involvement in the loan requested
(f)  Provide acceptable security/collateral.
(g) Provide other requirements the fund may demand. 

The applications should include and not limited to:

  • Name of the company
  • Address of company/E-mail
  • Year of incorporation/registration number
  • Amount and tenure of the loan
  • Number/type/size of the vessel to be procured
  • Other cabotage investment(specify)
  • Company share capital
  • Level of maritime activities
  • Number of vessels owned
  • The existing contract with international oil companies if any
  • Benefits of investment to Nigerian cabotage regime Maximum of  USD25m
  • Indicate preferred PLIs (Bank)
  • Ten copies of applications forwarded to be submitted to the office of the Director-General, Nigerian Maritime Administration & Safety Agency 4, Burma Road Apapa, Lagos.


Documents required for the release of a detained vessel are:

  1. Letter of undertaking by defaulting owner/operator to comply with the Cabotage Act
  2. Receipt of payment for relevant waiver fees and 2% surcharge Release order


Step 1: Collect Demand/Debit Note and Draft from Cabotage Department
Step 2: Collect and complete a PAF from Financial Services Department (it should be checked, stamped and registered)
Step 3: Make payment to designated bank
Step 4: Present evidence of payment from the bank to Financial Services department and obtain a receipt on confirmation of payment from the bank.


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