The Senate Committee on Marine Transport yesterday urged government agencies in the maritime industry to support President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration in eradicating corruption in the industry.
Chairman of the committee, Senator Ahmed Sani Yerima, made the plea during the committee’s visits to maritime agencies in Lagos.
Yerima said, “The issue of corruption should be eradicated from the maritime industry.
“There is need to revive the National Shipping Line because is very important to the country.
“What efforts need to be put in place; please let us know to enable trained seafarers to engage in sea time training.”
He also stressed the need to establish transit truck parks to aid port operation even as he solicited the cooperation of the agencies whenever the committee requests for any information.
The committee’ chairman said that all the agencies should operate strictly within the rules and regulations governing them, adding that all the agencies should execute their budgets effectively.
The acting Director-General of NIMASA, Alhaji Haruna Jauro, said the agency was established by an Act of Parliament in 2007 with the responsibility of ensuring security on Nigerian waters.
He said that NIMASA was established to promote the development of indigenous shipping capacity in the international and coastal shipping trade.
Jauro said that the agency also promotes the development of manpower in the maritime industry; acquisition and maintenance of ships in the country and inter-agency collaboration.
He said the agency installed a satellite-based maritime equipment to facilitate tracking of vessels anywhere in Nigerian water.
Jauro said NIMASA also installed an online seafarers’ verification platform to obtain the necessary data of Nigerian seafarers.
“For the International Ships and Ports Facility Security (ISPS) Code, we had visitors from International Maritime Organisation (IMO) recently who confirmed that Nigeria was above 80 per cent compliance.
“Before now the level of compliance was low and since the past few years when NIMASA took over, we have recorded high level of compliance.
“NIMASA trained seafarers and also issued certificates to the seafarers to show that they were trained by the agency,” Jauro said.
The NIMASA chief said that there was need for the country to raise its manpower level in seafaring, adding that, statistics had shown that the average age of a seafarer was about 50 years.
He said that the agency had been liaising with six universities in the country to be taking seafarers course.
Jauro said that the agency would disburse the Cabotage Fund as soon as it had the directive to do so.
“NIMASA was thinking about reviving the national carrier- the shipping line which was scrapped some years ago.
“Unless we have shipping line in place the seafarers would find it difficult to engage in sea-time training.
“The agency has awarded contract of ship building and dock yard,” he said.
In a related development, the Executive Secretary of Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Hassan Bello, said the council was established in 1978 to promote the interest of shippers.
“Our mission is to stabilise shipping charges and we also moderate shipping charges. We coordinate both the importers and exporters and we also give advisory and advocacy services to the shippers,” Bello said.
He said the Cargo Defend Fund of the council, last week, won a case for a shipper who traded in stockfish.
Bello said the council was able to collect N6 million back through the court for the Nigerian shipper, who was duped by someone outside the country.
He said that the council was working on a transit park in some states to enable truck drivers to relax while embarking on long journey.
Bello said that the council was also working on Inland Container Depots (ICDs) in Kano, Ibadan and some other states, adding that the Kaduna ICD was ready for operations.
He said that the council had completed the Seme Border Information Centre, which displayed all activities at the border station.
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