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Surveys And Inspections

Accredited Marine Surveyor

Accredited government and recognized organizations who are qualified to conduct surveys on domestic commercial vessels.

If you intend to design and build a domestic commercial vessel (DCV), you presently operate a DCV which has a certificate of survey, or you intend to undertake significant alterations or additions to a DCV, you may need to contact NIMASA Safety Department or recognised organisation to have your vessel surveyed.

Non-exclusive surveyors can also undertake surveys nationally; however surveyors often specify the areas in which they choose to provide their services. You can find non-exclusive surveyor’s preferred work area, categories of accreditation and contact details from NIMASA Safety Department.

 

Link to list of non exclusive surveoyrs

Common deficiency issues for firefighting equipment

Certain deficiencies in firefighting equipment are consistently found when we conduct port state control inspections.

During port state control inspections, we look at areas critical to the safe operation of the ship—inspecting the overall conditions of the ship, its equipment and its crew and the vessel’s compliance with certificates.

Domestic commercial vessels

When operating in the marine environment, there are compliance requirements you must meet. These include safety requirements, regular vessel surveys, permits and certificates of operation.

Safety requirements: All domestic commercial vessels must have International safety management system.

Regular vessel surveys: All vessels are required to hold a certificate of survey this includes existing both old and new vessels. Certain kinds of existing vessels are not required to hold a certificate of survey and are exempt. Vessels are surveyed annually.

Permits and certificates of operation: All domestic commercial vessels are required to have a certificate of operation—unless they are exempt

A certificate of operation sets out the conditions under which a domestic commercial vessel—or fleet of vessels—must operate, including:

  • the vessels used in the operation
  • how and where the vessels can operate
  • other conditions NIMASA considers necessary due to the nature of either a vessel or an operation.

It is a condition of the certificate of operation that the vessel must have a safety management system that complies with the requirements.

Fire prevention and fire fighting

Fire dampers

Deficient fire dampers are a leading cause of detention. The purpose of a fire damper is to be able to stop the flow of air into a space to help stop a fire in an emergency. Correct operation of the dampers can usually be checked without needing to open the casing because of the sound that can be heard.

Common fire damper issues include:

  • holes caused by corrosion and rust
  • not closing at all or completely
  • excessive effort required to open and close the damper.

If these issues are found, your ship will be detained until it is fixed.

Routine checks and maintenance must be done to make sure fan mechanism and attachment of discs/louvers to shafts are effective. When checking fire dampers regularly and before an inspection, make sure to check:

  • they are properly marked open and closed
  • the locking pins are free to be removed without excessive effort
  • the operating handles are free to move without excessive force
  • the operation is smooth and operates through the full range of motion.

Emergency fire pump

The emergency fire pump must be able to adequately pressurize the fire main.

If the emergency fire pump is non-operational, your ship may be detained. If we find the following conditions, your ship will be detained:

  • The pump is not able to perform at or between any draughts and no appropriate level equivalent level of safety such as a connection to shore water has been provided.
  • The pump is disabled due to draught.

Fire main isolating valve

Fire main isolating valves are also an important component of the fire system and its operation will generally be checked during the inspection. Our inspector may test the engine room fire main isolating valve during the emergency fire pump test.

When maintaining and checking the emergency fire main isolating valve regularly and before an inspection, make sure to:

  • test and check the condition of the fire hoses, nozzles and main
  • test the fire pump and make sure it works without external priming (unless class approved)
  • if fitted, test the fire pump priming system is working correctly.
  •  Bottom of Form
General and specific exemptions

There are other vessel permits or exemptions you may be eligible for under the national law.

The merchant shipping act law allows in certain cases, to grant exemption.

There are two types of exemption under the law:

 

  1. Specific exemptions—these may be granted on application in accordance with the regulations. 
  1. General exemptions—these typically apply to vessels, persons, and operations that meet the relevant criteria and conditions in the general exemption.
Guidelines for Vessels on the Lowering or Launching of Lifeboat at the Anchorages

Guidelines for vessels intending to carry out lowering or launching of conventional lifeboat / free fall lifeboat / rescue boat into the water at anchorages

Master of vessel is responsible for the safety of personnel involved in drills and is to familiarize himself and the vessel’s crew with the following lifeboat related IMO guidelines and recommendations prior the actual drill:

Prior commencement of drill

  1. The lifeboat lowering/free fall launching/rescue boat drill is to be supervised by competent personnel.
  2. The Master is to ensure that all safety measures and precautions are being observed in accordance with the vessel’s safety management system (SMS) and lifeboat / rescue boat instruction manuals.
  3. Safety briefing to all personnel involved shall be conducted prior to commencement of the drill.
  4. The operation must be carried out during daylight hours only.
  5. The operation shall not be carried out concurrently with any other activity such as bunkering, over side cargo operation, underwater diving, main engine immobilization etc.

Conducting the drill

There must be a safety boat in attendance, if the lifeboat or rescue boat drill requires maneuvering in the water as part of the drill. Maneuvering of the lifeboat should be kept within the ship’s length. The lifeboat / rescue boat is not permitted to loiter about at the anchorages. Note: The safety boat must be a suitable size harbor craft and should be able to hold and tow the lifeboat / rescue boat, if required. The ship’s rescue boat or lifeboats are not permitted for use as a safety 0boat.)

  1. The launch area must be clear of traffic before the lowering commence. The safety boat if provided, must warn all approaching traffic of the operation.
  2. There shall be no person(s) in the lifeboat /rescue boat during its lowering, launching and recovery.
  3. The drill shall abort immediately in the event of emergency, inclement weather condition or any likelihood of safety being compromised.

Application Procedures

  1. a) Free fall lifeboat launching and/or Lifeboat drills involving in-water maneuvering – Shipowners, masters or agents of vessels are required to obtain written approval from NIMASA Safety Department at least three (3) working days prior the intended operation. Permission for free fall lifeboat launching is only granted to be carried out with the following information:
  2. Name, IMO Number, Call sign, type and maximum height of vessel.
    ii. Proposed location and date of drill.
        iii. Harbor craft license number of safety boat.
        iv. Name of shipyard/berth and Terminal manager’s approval if drills are being carried out alongside berth.
        v. Ship specific Safe Operating Procedures (SOP) for the intended operation endorsed by Master or Vessel Managers.
        vi. Any other activity intended to be carried out at location.
  3. b) Lifeboat drills which do not require in-water maneuvering – Shipowners, masters or agents of vessels to obtain approval and providing the following information:
  4. Name, IMO Number or Call sign, type and maximum height of vessel.
    ii. Proposed location and date and time of drill.
Initial certificate of survey applications

This page outlines the types of survey reports and details NIMASA looks for when reviewing an application for approval.

For plan approval 

Please ensure all fields listed in the plan approval activity have data in them.

Ensure you have supplied or uploaded the appropriate plans for the plan approval activity.  

Ensure you have supplied or uploaded approval letters, noting plan approval letter(s) must specify:

  • the vessel particulars
  • the vessel’s unique identifier
  • the vessel’s service categories
  • the standards used for assessment
  • details of any exemptions that have been approved by the National Regulator which apply
  • a list of plans and documents that have been assessed
  • any conditions or comments made
  • the outcome of the plans and document assessment. 

Forms for surveys

For initial hull structure, engineering, fire and fit out, electrical, fuel tank, initial load line, watertight and weathertight and shaft surveys.

Ensure the correct survey reports have been supplied or uploaded to the activity.

  • For structure: MSSSD survey Form or surveyors own with equivalent detail.
  • For engineering: MSSSD survey Form or surveyors own with equivalent detail.
  • For fire and fit out: MSSSD survey Form or surveyors own with equivalent detail.
  • For electrical: MSSSD survey Form or surveyors own with equivalent detail.
  • For fuel tanks: MSSSD survey Form or surveyors own with equivalent detail.
  • For load line: MSSSD survey Form or surveyors own with equivalent detail.
  • For watertight and weathertight: MSSSD survey Form or surveyors own with equivalent detail.
  • For shafts: MSSSD survey Form or surveyors own with equivalent detail.
Vessel classification and certification

This guide explains the main classes of Nigeria-registered seagoing vessels, and gives outline details of the statutory certificates they must carry.

Certification requirements

The certificates that you must carry for Nigeria-registered vessels vary according to their type, gross tonnage (gt), type of cargo and whether they are on a domestic or international voyage.

The following is an outline of the main certification requirements:

  • passenger ship safety certificate – for all passenger ships
  • cargo ship safety radio certificate – for cargo ships, oil tankers, chemical tankers or gas carriers and large commercial yachts over 300gt on international voyages only
  • cargo ship safety equipment certificate – for cargo ships, oil tankers, chemical tankers or gas carriers and large commercial yachts over 500gt on international voyages only
  • cargo ship safety construction certificate – for cargo ships, oil tankers, chemical tankers or gas carriers and large commercial yachts over 500gt on international voyages only
  • cargo ship safety certificate – for cargo ships, oil tankers, chemical tankers or gas carriers and large commercial yachts over 300gt
  • load line certificate – for passenger ships, cargo ships, oil tankers, chemical tankers or gas carriers and large commercial yachts over 24 metres in length (if built on or after 21 July 1968) or of more than 150gt and for passenger ships over 80 net tonnes
  • oil pollution prevention certificate – for fishing vessels, passenger ships, cargo ships, chemical tankers or gas carriers and large commercial yachts over 400gt and oil tankers over 150gt
  • minimum safe manning document certificate – for passenger ships, cargo ships, oil tankers, chemical tankers or gas carriers and large commercial yachts over 500gt
  • safety management certificate – for all passenger ships and for cargo ships, oil tankers, chemical tankers or gas carriers and large commercial yachts over 500gt
  • ship security certificate – for passenger ships, cargo ships oil tankers, chemical tankers or gas carriers and large commercial yachts on international voyages only
  • sewage pollution certificate – for fishing vessels, passenger ships, cargo ships, oil tankers, chemical tankers or gas carriers and large commercial yachts of 400gt or more, or carrying 15 persons or more on international voyages only
  • air pollution certificate – for fishing vessels, passenger ships, cargo ships, oil tankers, chemical tankers or gas carriers and large commercial yachts of 400gt or more
  • anti-fouling declaration – for fishing vessels under 24 metres in length or of less than 400gt
  • anti-fouling certificate – for fishing vessels, passenger ships, cargo ships, oil tankers, chemical tankers or gas carriers and large commercial yachts of 400gt or more
  • certificate of fitness (chemical or gas) certificate – for all chemical tankers or gas carriers
  • dangerous goods certificate – for passenger ships built after 1 September 1984, and for cargo ships after a certain date of build on international voyages only
  • fishing vessel certificate – for fishing vessels between 15 and 24 metres in length
  • international fishing vessel certificate – for fishing vessels over 24 metres in length
  • small commercial vessel certificate – for pilot boats and small commercial vessels under 24 metres in length
  • certificate of registry – mandatory for all vessels
  • international tonnage – for fishing vessels under 24 metres in length

Merchant ships: classification and certification

Merchant ships are classified by the type of cargo that they carry (general cargo, oil, chemicals, gas etc), their gt and the voyages they undertake, which can be:

  • inshore, in the sea arears around Nigeria
  • short international – when the ship is never more than 200 nautical miles (nm) from a port or place of safety, and on which there is no more than 600nm between the final departure port and the first destination port
  • long international – all other voyages between ports in two countries to which the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) applies

The classes of merchant vessels are as follows:

  • Class VII – ships (other than those in Classes VII(A), VII(T), XI and XII) engaged on voyages, any of which are long international voyages
  • Class VII(A) – ships employed as fish processing or canning factory ships and ships engaged in the carriage of persons employed in the fish processing or canning industries
  • Class VII(T) – tankers engaged on voyages, any of which are long international voyages
  • Class VIII – ships (other than ships of Classes VIII(T), IX, XI and XII) engaged only on short international voyages
  • Class VIII(T) – tankers engaged on voyages, any of which are short international voyages
  • Class VIII(A) – ships (other than ships of VIII(A)(T), IX, IX(A), IX(A)(T), XI and XII) engaged only on voyages which are not international voyages – this class includes small commercial vessels
  • Class VIII(A)(T) – tankers engaged only on voyages which are not international voyages
  • Class IX – tugs and tenders which go to sea but not on long international voyages

Certification for merchant ships

The certificates that merchant ships must carry vary according to class, type of cargo and size. The following is an outline of the main certification requirements for Nigeria ships:

  • cargo ship safety radio certificate – for cargo ships, oil tankers and chemical tankers or gas carriers over 300gt on international voyages only
  • cargo ship safety equipment certificate – for cargo ships, oil tankers and chemical tankers or gas carriers over 500gt on international voyages only
  • cargo ship safety construction certificate – for cargo ships, oil tankers and chemical tankers or gas carriers over 500gt on international voyages only
  • cargo ship safety certificate – for cargo ships, oil tankers and chemical tankers or gas carriers over 300gt
  • load line certificate – for cargo ships, oil tankers and chemical tankers or gas carriers over 24 metres in length (if built on or after 21 July 1968) or of more than 150gt
  • oil pollution prevention certificate – for cargo ships and chemical tankers or gas carriers over 400gt and oil tankers over 150gt
  • minimum safe manning document certificate – for cargo ships, oil tankers and chemical tankers or gas carriers over 500gt
  • safety management certificate – for all passenger ships, and for cargo ships, oil tankers, chemical tankers or gas carriers and large commercial yachts over 500gt
  • ship security certificate – for cargo ships, oil tankers and chemical tankers or gas carriers on international voyages only
  • sewage pollution certificate – for cargo ships, oil tankers and chemical tankers or gas carriers of 400gt or more, or carrying 15 persons or more, on international voyages only
  • air pollution certificate – for cargo ships, oil tankers and chemical tankers or gas carriers of 400gt or more
  • anti -fouling certificate – for cargo ships, oil tankers and chemical tankers or gas carriers of 400gt or more
  • certificate of fitness (chemical or gas) certificate – for all chemical tankers or gas carriers
  • dangerous goods certificate – for cargo ships after a certain date of build, on international voyages only

Passenger ships: classification and certification

Passenger-carrying ships are classified primarily on whether they operate inshore or on short or long international voyages.

The classes of passenger ships are as follows:

  • Class I – ships engaged on voyages any of which are long international voyages.
  • Class II – ships engaged only on voyages any of which are short international voyages.
  • Class II(A) – ships engaged on voyages of any kind other than international voyages, which are not ships of Classes III to VI(A).
  • Class III – ships engaged only on voyages in the course of which they are at no time more than 70 miles by sea from their point of departure and not more than 18 miles from the coast of the Nigeria and which are at sea only in favourable weather and during restricted periods.
  • Class VI – ships engaged only on voyages with not more than 250 passengers on board. In favourable weather and during restricted periods, in the course of which the ships are at no time more than 15 miles from their point of departure, nor more than 3 miles from land.
  • Class VI (A) – ships carrying not more than 50 passengers for a distance of not more than 6 miles. Voyages to or from isolated communities on the islands or coast of the Nigeria and which do not proceed for a distance of more than 3 miles from land.

Additional classifications for inshore ships are:

  • Class A – passenger ships engaged on domestic voyages other than voyages covered by Classes B, C and D
  • Class B – a passenger ship engaged on domestic voyages in the course of which it is at no time more than 20 miles from the line of the coast
  • Class C – a passenger ship engaged on domestic voyages in sea areas where the probability of exceeding 2.5 metres significant wave height is less than 10% over a one-year period for all-year round operation; in the course of which it is at no time more than 15 miles from a place of refuge, nor more than 5 miles from the line of the coast
  • Class D – a passenger ship engaged on domestic voyages in sea areas where the probability of exceeding 1.5 metres significant wave height is less than 10% over a one-year period for all-year round operation; in the course of which it is at no time more than 15 miles from a place of refuge, nor more than 5 miles from the line of the coast

Certification for passenger ships

The certificates that passenger ships must carry vary according to their gt. The following is an outline of the main certification requirements for Nigerian ships:

  • passenger ship safety certificate
  • load line certificate required for passenger ships either operating in Nigerian waters and of more than 80 gross tonnes (gt) or operating in non-Nigerian waters and of 24 metres length (if keel was laid on or after 21 July 1968) or of more than 150gt
  • oil pollution prevention certificate – ships of 400gt or more
  • minimum safe manning document – ships of 500gt or more
  • safety management certificate
  • ship security certificate – ships on international voyages
  • sewage pollution certificate – ships of 400gt or more, or carrying 15 persons and on international voyages
  • air pollution certificate – ships of 400gt or more – application to ships other than on international voyages not yet confirmed
  • anti-fouling certificate – ships of 400gt or more
  • dangerous goods certificate – ships built after 1 September 1984 on international voyages only

Certification for small vessels

The specific type of certificate issued depends on operational activities of the vessel – different certificates are issued for vessels used commercially for sport or pleasure, workboats and pilot boats. Commercial vessels that are 24 metres load-line length or over are treated as cargo ships.

Fishing vessels: classification and certification

Fishing vessels are classified by length. In general, operation of fishing vessels of less than 24 metres registered length are covered by The Code of Practice for the Safety of Small Fishing Vessels of less than 15m Length Overall and The Code of Safe Working Practice for the Construction and Use of Fishing Vessels of 15m Length Overall to less than 24m Registered Length Fishing Vessels.

Fishing Vessels of 24 metres in length and over are covered The Code of Practice for the Construction and Safe Operation of Fishing Vessels of 24m Registered Length and Over.

Certification of fishing vessels

Fishing vessels are exempt from some certification requirements, although other specialised certificates must be carried, as follows:

  • Small fishing vessel certificate
  • Fishing vessel certificate – for vessels 15-24 metres
  • international fishing vessel certificate – for vessels 24 metres or longer
  • oil pollution prevention certificate
  • air pollution certificate – vessels of 400 gross tonnes (gt) or more
  • sewage pollution certificate – vessels of 400gt or more, or carrying 15 persons, and on international voyages
  • anti-fouling declaration – vessels of less than 24 metres in length and less than 400gt
  • anti-fouling certificate – vessels of 400gt or more
  • international tonnage certificate – vessels of 400gt or more