Rector of Starz Maritime Academy (SMA), Dr. Reuben Ovai has called on the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to speedily re-float the defunct Nigerian National Shipping Line (NNSL).
Ovai made this call recently at the graduation ceremony and passing out parade of final year students of the academy.
He said the return of the shipping line would benefit his students and help the country at a time its revenue is dwindling due to falling oil prices in the international market.
“We pray everyday that the shipping line comes to reality because students from my school will benefit from it.
He said, “Everything depends on determination. If we are determined to float a national shipping line in six months it is possible but what are the things put in place to actualize that plans?”
Ovai said the six months time frame promised by the Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Patrick Akpobolokemi for refloating the national carrier was not realistic.
“Except we want to buy a second hand vessels. On paper, one can establish a national shipping line in six months but in reality it is not possible. It takes longer time. How many vessels are you acquiring? What is the set up? Have they acquired the vessels already that it takes only six months for delivery, because we all know the procedure of acquiring a vessel. It is a good initiative and we have been agitating for it.
“I pray the DG of NIMASA will have the fortitude to make it happen and I pray that the government will listen to him. I believe there is nothing impossible for government to do, everything depends of determination,” he said.
Ovai said the shipping line, when operational, will conserve foreign exchange especially for the country and support the quest of cadets for sea-time experience.
“There is no better time for the setting up of the shipping line than now especially with the dwindling revenue profile of the country. The shipping line would help boost the economy if it eventually comes to pass. If Nigeria is determined they can float hundred or two hundred vessels. What we need is a political will and the will power to do it,” he added.
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