Procedure for Shop Registration in Nigeria with NIMASA

It is important for individuals or corporate bodies who own or propose to own ships in Nigeria to register same with the agency in charge of ship registration in Nigeria for proper identification. Ship registration in Nigeria is the process by which a ship is documented and given the nationality of the country to which the ship has been documented. The nationality allows a ship to travel internationally as it is proof of ownership of the vessel.

Internationally and nationally, it is required that every ship be registered in a country, called its flag state. Such ship upon registration becomes subject to the rules and regulations of the flag state.

Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency - NIMASA

The agency responsible for the registration of ships in Nigeria is the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), particularly the Nigerian Ship Registration Office (NSRO). The Shipping laws requires that every state must issue a “Certificate of Registry” to ships who intend to fly the flag of such state. 

Minimum Share Capital Requirements

The minimum share capital for any vessel owned by a Nigerian company is N25, 000, 000. 00

Reservation and Approval of Ship Names in Nigeria

Application for registration allows an owner to specify a preferred name for a ship and any alternatives, should the preferred name be unavailable. It is also possible to check on name availability before submitting the application and to reserve preferred names. This can be done by visiting the Nigerian Ship Registration Office.

A proposed name may be refused for any of the following reasons:

  1. It is already the name of a Nigerian registered ship

  2. It is a name so similar to an existing name that it could pass off as belonging to the same owner.

  3. It is likely to cause offence or embarrassment to the flag.

  4. It is calculated to deceive or offend the public interest.

  5. Reservation of name is for a 60 days period after which the name shall lapse.

NIMASA Registration Requirements

Company Information

  1. Copy of certificate of Incorporation;

  2. CTC of Memorandum and Articles of Association;

  3. CTC of Form CAC1.1 (Application Form) note that company’s share capital should not be less than twenty five million Naira (N25m);

  4. Company’s current tax clearance certificate;

  5. Company’s Bank statement or reference letter; and

  6. Declaration of ownership form (to be issued by the Ship Registry). This form upon issuance will require the following details:

  • Full names, addresses, and occupations of the purchaser of the ship.

  • Evidence of ability or experience of the purchasers to operate and maintain the ship.

  • Logbook of the ship to be inspected by the Registrar of ships.

  • In the case of second-hand tonnage, a bill of sale with warranty against liens and encumbrances from the sellers.

  • Evidence of financial resources sufficient for operation and maintenance of the ship.

It is important to note that in addition to the application for registration, the ship-owner is expected to concurrently submit an application for survey and issuance of certificate of tonnage measurement to facilitate the flag survey of the vessel.

Vessels Particulars

  1. Name of ship;

  2. Time and place of purchase;

  3. Name of Master;

  4. Best particulars in respect of the tonnage, build and description of the ship;

  5. Bill of sale or Builders certificate (evidence of title);

  6. Condition survey report and tonnage measurement certificate as approved by the Minister;

  7. Certificate of carving and marking note of the ship;

  8. Call sign certificate;

  9. Load line certificate;

  10. Report of pre-purchase survey;

  11. Deletion certificate (if vessel is flagging in from a foreign flag, this is to avoid dual registration);

  12. Certificate of approved plan issued by NIMASA for a newly built vessel in Nigeria only;

  13. Applicant should liaise with NIMASA survey unit for flag state condition survey and issuance of Certificate of Tonnage Measurement;

  14. Vessel class certificate (for conventional vessel only);

  15. Payment of Registration fees; and

  16. Evidence of insurance/P & I coverage.


The registration process is quite easy as applicants are required to make an application to the Director-General of the agency, attaching all supporting documents as required. 

Upon submission of the application and supporting documents, the required fees will be assessed and communicated to the applicant. Where the application is approved, a certificate of registration will be issued from the Nigerian Ship Registry Office.


The Nigerian certificate of registry has a 5 year validity period. Upon the expiration of this initial period,
every ship-owner is required to apply for the renewal of the vessel’s registration.

Shipping Law in Nigeria

Shipping or Maritime in Nigeria is another interesting industry where various lucrative activities are being carried out. Similar to other sensitive industries, it is highly regulated by a number of legislations, the principal body of substantive shipping laws is contained in the Merchant Shipping Act, 2007 (MSA), the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency Act, 2007, the Coastal and Inland Shipping Act No. 5, 2003, etc.

Other legislations governs specific sectors of the industry such as ports, carriage of goods by sea, pollution, the environment, and marine services. Some of these legislations include the Nigerian Ports Authority Act, Carriage of Goods by Sea Act, United Nations Convention on Carriage of Goods by Sea (Ratification and Enforcement) Act. T

NIMASA Registration Fees

NIMASA Registration Form

The NIMASA registration forms are available for download via the official website of the agency or available for pick up from any of the offices.

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