Shipowners under the aegis of the Nigerian Shipowners Association (NISA) have asked the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to reveal the status of the 4,000 ships it said are currently registered under the Nigerian ship registry.
National Publicity Secretary of the association, Engr. Emmanuel Ilori who stated this last week at the public presentation of the book “Beacons of Nigeria Maritime Industry” said the performance of the industry till date is nothing to write home about, noting that without such data, it will be difficult for the sector to plan.
Ilori, who was recently appointed by the Director General of NIMASA, Dakuku Peterside, to head a committee to review the operations of the Nigerian Ship Registration office with a view to ensuring that ship registration processes in Nigeria is in accordance with global standards lamented that the sector is still dominated by foreigners.
“NIMASA said that Nigeria has over 4,000 ships that have only registered on the Nigeria registry since the registry started. We do not know the status of these ships and without such data it will be difficult for us to plan. So we cannot be deceiving ourselves that the sector is doing very well.
“The industry has challenges. If you are a maritime practitioner, you go to the bank and say you want to buy a ship in Nigeria, I don’t think that loan would be approved. The performance of the industry today is nothing to write home about.
“The sector is dominated by foreigners, the techno people we have there are not even dong what they should be doing.
“If you go round the creeks, there are brand new ships, even some are less than five years old but there is no job for them, some of them are marooned on the coast. Accessing the waterways is the big challenge, ships is going to run on to wrecks, so there are so many challenges facing the sector. But we are taking the right steps to restructure the sector,” he said.
The marine engineer also lamented that despite repeated calls by shipowners on the need to change Nigeria’s trade terms in lifting her crude from Free On Board (FOB) to Cost Insurance Freight (CIF), the Federal Government has not shown any commitment to the recommendation.
“We are saying that we want to change from FOB to CIF but no administration has supported that initiative and we have been shouting for years. But when we change to CIF, you are going to see how we will transform the sector because Nigeria is the only nation among the OPEC countries that is carrying their crude oil on FOB. But when we change to CIF, it will change the perspective and the commitment to make people put money unto Nigeria ships.
“NNLG ships are being carried on CIF which means that there are guarantee of cargo for those ships and NNLG shipping are growing day by day. Why not the indigenous sector? Give them the guarantee of cargo through CIF back to have confidence in the industry,” he added.