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Nigerian Cabotage: It's Policy, Problems & Prospects

Nigerian Cabotage: It's Policy, Problems & Prospects

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Published by Emmanuel O.

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Published by: Emmanuel O. on Dec 22, 2009
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Cabotage otherwise known as coastal or coasting Trade involves carriage of goods (and passengers) within the territorial and inland waters of any nation state by ship or by ship and any other means of transportation from one place in thestate to another place or part of that state.
Black’s Law Dictionary (6
Edition) defined Cabotage as “The caring on of tradealong a country’s coast; the transport of goods or passengers from one port or  place to another in the same country” The Webster Dictionary defined Cabotageas “ the navigation and involvement of ships in coastal waters; restriction of theuse of coastal waters and airspace by a country to its own domestic traffic”Following from the above definitions we can derive the meaning of “CabotageLaw” as the law reserving the coastal trade of a nation to vessels flying itsnational flag
Under Section 2 of the Coastal and Inland Shipping (Cabotage) Act 2003Cabotage is defined copiously as
Ilogu, L. Chidi Esq. “ Memorandum On Proposed Cabotage Bill submitted To The Committee onTransport, House of Rep. Abuja 9
April 2001.
“Practical Implementation of Cabotage” being a paper presented at the NBA Conference Abuja 22
– 27
August 2004.
(a)The carriage of goods by vessel, or by vessel and any other mode of transport,from one place in Nigerian waters to any other place in Nigeria or above Nigerian waters, either directly or via a place outside Nigeria or to any other  place in Nigeria and includes the carriage of goods in relation to theexploration, exploitation or transportation of the mineral or non - livingnatural resources in or under Nigerian waters.(b)The carriage of passengers by vessel from any place in Nigeria situated on alattice or river to the same place, or to any other place in Nigeria, either directly or via a place outside Nigeria to the same place without any call atany port outside Nigeria or to any as in – transit or emergency call, either directly or via a place outside Nigeria,(c)The carriage of passengers by vessel from any place in Nigeria to any othe place in Nigeria, or from any place above Nigerian waters to the same place or to any other place above or under Nigerian waters where the carriage of the passenger is in relation to the exploration, exploitation or transportation of themineral or non – living natural resources in or under Nigerian waters and(d)The engaging, by vessel, in any other marine activity of a commercial naturein Nigerian waters and, the carriage of any goods or substance whether or notof commercial value within the waters of Nigeria.
From the foregoing academic and statutory definitions one can safelysummarise Cabotage Law as the Law restricting the coastal and inland waterstrade in a country to vessels flying its state flag.2
Cabotage is the carriage of cargo or passengers by sea between portslocated within a state. It generally connotes the idea of trans – national coastalnavigation and covers the movement of vessels from one cape to another along the coastlines of a nation and on a much wider scale; it includesnavigation within a nation’s inland waters (Agbkoba 2004). Principally theseactivities are reserved for national flag vessels, indigenous vessel owners andcitizen crewmen. Essentially it is the trade implications of Cabotage that makeit such an important part of the lexicon of international law and domestic policy, being the restriction of coastal and inland waterways’ trade to vesselsof the nation State (Akabogu, 2004). Cabotage Law is a law empoweringnavigation and trading within a country’s coasts or from port to port within anation (domestic shipping) to be reserved exclusively for and carried on by itsnational flagships and nationals (Igbokwe M. 2001). The Cabotage law can becontained in a single legislation or in a combination of shipping legislations of a country.Two forms of Cabotage regimes exist depending on local situationsand the type that suits a nations interest, namely, strict Cabotage laws andrelaxed / modified / liberalized Cabotage laws.1.2.1
Strict Cabotage Legal Regime.
In a strict maritime Cabotage regime three elements of restriction of coastal tradeare conspicuous, namely, that Cabotage is restricted to ships “built, owned,crewed and operated” by citizens of a country. One of the best examples of a3

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