Maritime business in Nigeria is a profitable one, no doubt about it. But before one will start a Maritime in Nigeria, there are Maritime Industry Registrations you need to complete to commence business. This post covers the Maritime Industry Registrations, NIMASA Registrations and requirements in Nigeria, Maritime company/ Agent incorporation with CAC, ship registrations and ship registration procedures. You can also use our support to do the registrations.

What is Maritime Industry?

Maritime Industry is any business activity related to the ocean, sea, ships, navigation of ships from point A to point B, seafarers, ship owning and other related activities.

Maritime Agencies in Nigeria

In Nigeria, Maritime industry is manage and controlled by Federal government body called “The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA). It is committed to the global best practices in the provision of maritime services in Nigeria.

The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) services include Maritime Safety Administration, Maritime Labour Regulation, Marine Pollution Prevention and Control, Search and Rescue, Cabotage enforcement, Shipping Development and Ship Registration, Training and Certification of Seafarers, and Maritime Capacity Development. NIMASA is also entrusted with the responsibility to support the development of indigenous Maritime business capacity.


Read: How to Start Oil & Gas Business in Nigeria


What is Shipping Business?

Shipping Business is the act of carriage of cargo from point A to point using the ships which falls under the Maritime industry.

A shipping company engages in the business of transporting or providing cargoes and this is a major activity in Maritime industry in Nigeria. Being a company intending to perform shipping operations, the company can apply to register a ship, if it owns one, by a written application after it has duly been incorporated in Nigeria accordance with the Companies and Allied Matters Act with the objectives of doing shipping business.

Functions of The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA)

  • Pursue the development of shipping and regulatory matters relating to merchant shipping and seafarers.
  • Administration and regulation of shipping licenses.
  • Administration, Regulation and Certification of Seafarers.
  • Establishment of Maritime Training and Safety Standards
  • Regulation of safety of shipping as regards the construction of ships and navigation.
  • Provision of Maritime Search and Rescue Services
  • Provide direction and ensure compliance with vessels security measures
  • Carry out Air and Coastal Surveillance
  • Control and prevent Maritime Pollution
  • Develop and implement policies and programs, which will facilitate the growth of local capacity in ownership, manning and construction of ships and other maritime infrastructure.
  • Enhance and administer the provision of Cabotage Act. 2003
  • Perform Port and Flag State duties.
  • Provide Maritime Security.
  • Establish the procedure for the implementation of conventions of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the International Labour Organization (ILO), and other international conventions to which the Federal Republic of Nigeria is a party on Maritime Safety and Security, Maritime Labour, Commercial Shipping, and for the implementation of Codes, Resolutions and Circulars arising there from.

Maritime Shipping Company /Agent Company Incorporation

There are several requirements to register a Shipping Company / Shipping Agent with Corporate Affairs Commission in Nigeria. One of the key requirements is your Shipping Company / Shipping Agent must have a minimum equity share capital of twenty five million. If your have a registered company that the share capital is not up to the 25 million share capital, you can upgrade to meet this requirement.

Read more on Shipping Company /Agent Registration

Types of Ship Registration in Nigeria

  • Provisional Registration:
  • Flag Registration
  • Bareboat Registration (Flag/Cabotage)
  • Cabotage Registration (Wholly Nigerian Owned, Joint Venture, Foreign Category) Registers Maintained by the Nigerian Ship Registry
  • Register for merchant ships.
  • Register for fishing vessels.
  • Register for ships under construction.
  • Register for ship under the bareboat charter and other charters exceeding 12 months
  • Register of licensed ships below 15 gross tons.
  • Register for Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) and Floating Storage and Offloading (FSO).
  • Special Cabotage Register for Wholly Nigerian Owned Vessels.
  • Special Cabotage Register for Bareboat Chartered Vessels.
  • Special Cabotage Register for Foreign-Owned Vessels
  • Register of Boats with Engine of 200 Horse-Power and Above.

Who Qualified to Own Registered Nigerian Ships?

The Merchant Shipping Act 2007 provides that the following are persons eligible to register Nigerian Ships:

  1. Nigerian citizens
    b. Bodies corporate established under and subject to Nigerian laws, having their principal place of business in Nigeria
    c. Such other persons as the Minister of Transport may by regulations prescribe.


Read: Nigerian Local Content Registration


How to Register a Shipping Company in Nigeria

The legal service unit of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency registers shipping companies/Agents provided that they have fulfilled all the requirements provided in the Agency’s guidelines.

For a company intending to carry out shipping activities to qualify for registration and issuance of an operating license, the company must be engaged mainly in the shipping business and submit the following documents:

  • Completed NIMASA Form 1
  • Current tax clearance certificate
  • Certified true copy of Form CAC 7 (Particulars of Directors)
  • Certified true copy of Certificate of Incorporation
  • Certified true copy of Memorandum and Article of Association of which the share capital must not be less than N25 Million, and the object of the company must be shipping.
  • Latest Audited Report
  • CAC Form 2.1 (Return of Allotment) where applicable
  • Evidence that the company has filed its annual returns
  • Evidence of registration as a Licensed customs agent
  • Joint venture Agreement where applicable
  • Charter party agreement where applicable
  • A reference from the bank

 Procedure for Registration

  • The shipping company or its authorized agent will submit the application to the General Manager of the Western Port or Eastern Ports
  • The applicant will receive a debit note and make payment of N200, 000.00.
  • Upon the confirmation of the payment, the Nigerian Port Authority issues a receipt to the applicant
  • The Nigerian Port Authority (NPA) issues the original copy of the Certificate of Registration as a shipping company to the Applicant.

The License for registration will be issued within a period of two weeks from the date of registration on the premise that the company has provided all the documents as required.

Furthermore, where Shipping Company is registering under National Carrier status for the benefit of enjoying preferential rights or privileges accorded by the government, it must adhere to these requirements provided by the Agency:

  1. The company must be registered in Nigeria
  2. The company must be a fully owned Nigerian company with Nigerian equity ownership of at least 60%
  3. The head office of the company must be in Nigeria; management and control must be directed from the head office.
  4. The company must own at least one ocean-going vessel of not less than 5000 net registered tonnages.
  5. The vessel must be registered in the Nigerian Vessel of ships
  6. The terms and conditions of employment of seafarers engaged in the company are in conformity with Nigerian laws and accepted international rules and standards

The application to register as National Carrier is to be submitted with the following documents for registration:

  • Completed NIMASA Form B1
  • Current tax clearance certificate of the company
  • Current tax clearance certificate
  • Certified true copy of Form CAC 7 (Particulars of Directors)
  • Certified true copy of Certificate of Incorporation
  • Certified true copy of Memorandum and Article of Association of which the share capital must not be less than N100 Million, and the object of the company must be shipping.
  • Latest Audited Report
  • Evidence that the company has filed its annual returns
  • Evidence of registration as a Licensed customs agent
  • Joint venture Agreement for oil or specialized lifting operations where applicable
  • Copy of Current list of each owned vessel
  • A reference from the bank

 Registration Fees

The fees to be paid by a company with the intent to operate a shipping business are as follows:

  • NIMASA Registration Form B1 which costs the sum of N10,000.00 (Ten Thousand Naira)
  • A registration fee of N100,000.00 (One Hundred Thousand Naira)

Upon registration, a physical inspection will be carried out at the Head Office of the Company, where original documents submitted will be sighted and verified during the inspection.

Renewal of Registration

For a company to qualify for renewal of a license as a shipping company, the following documents must be submitted together with the prescribed fees:

  • The companies tax clearance certificate
  • Latest audited Account
  • Evidence that the company has updated and paid its annual returns at the Corporate Affairs Commission
  • Evidence that the company is not indebted to the Agency and has complied with payment of 2%, 3% statutory fee.


For assistance and support, contact us:
Mobile: +234 8033 185 898

Maritime & Shipping Registration in Nigeria

About The Author