Three vessels belonging to the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) were detained sequel to non-payment of levies, including lack of respect for the Nigerian government, The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has said.
Speaking with Vanguard on the issue, a NIMASA official who pleaded anonmity said that the detention, was made on Saturday.
He said that contrary to claims by NLNG that NIMASA is lawless, it is the officials of NLNG that are.
In a statement signed by the Deputy Director, Public Affairs, NIMASA, Isichei Osamgbi, part,The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), said it has today in its enforcement of Nigerian laws, served detention notices/orders on vessels belonging to/chartered by the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas Company Limited (NLNG).
“This course of action was forced on NIMASA by the NLNG’s subsequent refusal or/and failure to abide by the outcome of the negotiated settlement arrived at through the mediation process it willingly instigated and subscribed to after reaching agreement with NIMASA on its outstanding debt and paying $20m out of it and its continued flagrant disregard for Nigerian laws.
“Contrary to NLNG’s position, NIMASA is not aware of any court order against it or any suit brought by NLNG against NIMASA.
“By its action, the NLNG has trivialised the mediation process and the position of the Federal Government of Nigeria whose Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation owns and holds 49 per cent of the shares in NLNG and which endorsed the agreement reached that NLNG should pay its taxes/levies and observe all its obligations under the laws of Nigeria in which it is operating.”
NLNG said it paid about N3.2 billion in outstanding levies to NIMASA under protest and filed a suit on June 18 against the agency to seek judicial clarity and interpretation on the legality of the levies. NLNG was directed on May 18 to pay outstanding levies to NIMASA after a state arbitration panel ruled the NLNG was not exempted from taxes.
NIMASA barricaded Nigeria LNG’s Bonny Island loading bay May 3, causing it to halt exports before they resumed on May 5.