Marine engineers decry influx of rust bottoms on Nigerian waters

The Association of Marine Engineers and Surveyors (AMES) in Nigeria has lamented the influx of scrap ships on Nigerian waters due to what it called lack of regulating standard.

President of the association, Engr. Charles Uwadia who stated this while speaking with SHIPS & PORTS DAILY in his office in Lagos, said large number of ships have been abandoned at the bar due to failure to meet up prescribed standards for operational purposes.

“Right at the outside bar, you will be surprised at the number of vessels that cannot move or those that are substandard because they cannot meet the minimum standard required for a vessel to be operational,” he said.

He however said the association was working towards ensuring that only certified seaworthy ships are acquired into Nigeria.

He said the initiative would be among key issues for discussion at the association’s upcoming Maritime Technical Summit with the theme Challenges of Maritime Transport Industry in Nigeria.

Uwadia said policy makers in this respect would be exposed to the demands and requirements needed, which must be complied with in ship acquisition as obtainable worldwide.

He said, “We want to use this summit to advise stakeholders, the government on how to maintain their vessels to eliminate substandard vessels on our waters.”

Uwadia called on regulatory authorities concerned to be alive to their responsibility to ensure minimum standards are met, to avoid down time in the course of operations at sea.

He said it was important that Nigeria upheld the professional practice of engaging competent marine engineers and ship surveyors for survey reports before any ship would be allowed into the country.

“In any civilised country, the first thing should be to get a competent marine engineer or a good ship surveyor to go and inspect the vessel and give a honest report before it is purchased.

“It should not be the case of getting the seller to give you a surveyor for the job, who will give a report to ensure that the owner sells his ware, as it has always been. Such practices, when not checked, make people buy vessels that cannot even leave the port because they are scraps,” he said.

Also speaking, former Government Inspector of Shipping (GIS), Engr. Olu Akinsoji, said the summit would address issues in human capacity development in the maritime sector as the present crop of marine engineers are aging and would require competent replacement.

He said the summit would also consider the need to have professionals drive policy formulation in the sector.

“We hardly have input into policy formulation. All the professionals, our colleagues who were in the Ministry (of Transport) have all left.

“The Ministry only has administrative officers. So, when they are formulating policies, it comes out in form of laws before we even know something is going on,” he said.

 



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