Indigenous ship owners have cried out as international oil companies (IOCs) operating in the country secured directive from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and National Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPIMS) to cut charter rates by up to 25 per cent
The ship owners under the umbrella of Ship Owners Association of Nigeria (SOAN) said that the tonnage of their fleet had diminished considerably due to the collapse of the price of oil worldwide in the last couple of years.
The President of the association, Engr. Greg Ogbeifun, who disclosed this at SOAN’s workshop and dinner held in Lagos, explained that most ship owners were unable to meet their obligations to the financing banks, leading to loss of jobs, training opportunities and failed businesses.
He noted that indigenous tonnage was going down, while seafarers were going out of job.
The president also stressed that Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG), which owns a large trading worldwide, could not register their ships under the Nigerian flag to boost the country’s tonnage because Nigerian flag administration is extremely weak.
Ogbeifun added: “Instead, they have all their ships registered in foreign Flags of Convenience. NLNG actually approached our flag administration to express their desire and preference to register all their ships in Nigeria if the flag administration can be enhanced and reorganised to meet international standards.”
He expressed displeasure over the challenges facing indigenous ship owners and the turn of event in the industry in the last two years.
Ogbeifun, therefore, called for the immediate resignation of the Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).
He told the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, to replace NIMASA management over what he described as gross incompetence.
Ogbeifun stressed that while the country had sacked officials over fraud in the past, no one had been relieved of his post on account of non-performance or incompetence.
He explained: “They went further and paid for a consultant to carry out a study of our flag administration and make recommendations to achieve this objective.
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