…Says it is a welcomed development
The Nigerian Indigenous Ship owners Association (NISA) has described as a step in the right direction the ban of 133 tankers by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) from plying the Nigerian waters.
The NNPC had last week acting on the orders of President Muhammadu Buhari said that the 133 tankers had been prohibited from plying the Nigerian waters with immediate effect citing no reason for the decision.
Speaking in an interview with newsmen in Lagos on Tuesday, the National Publicity Secretary of NISA, Mr. Emmanuel Ilori observed that for foreigners to be involved in the carriage of that strategic oil was a misnomer in the first instance adding that it was something that ought to have been corrected years ago since there was a policy at the NNPC which allowed for only Nigerian tankers to be carrying the Nigerian oil even as he said that the policy for whatever reason had not been effected.
“So, for that sought of strategically important component of our economy, it is a significant change, that is a correction of what is going on. For this administration to start correcting that, it is a step in the right direction.
“I am sure you will be asking what is the implication for the indigenous ship ownership. Now, for the indigenous ship ownership, you know for years, we have been clamouring for a national carrier status, therefore, if the carriage of the Nigerian crude oil can transfer to the Nigerian company through National Carrier, we are now beginning to take control of not only our present, we are taking control of our future because if we have them in Nigeria, the foreign capital flight is going to be saved in that aspect and then the oil which we have seen as the major component of the economy will be carried by the Nigerian vessels”, he said.
The NISA spokesman hinted that since the indigenous ship owners had been clamouring for a national carrier status which was meant for the carriage of the Nigerian crude oil, this development now availed them the opportunity to implement that policy.
He added that the fact that foreigners were involved in the carriage of the nation’s strategic component of the nation’s economy was evidence of lack of strategic policy in the maritime industry.
On the capacity of the Nigerian indigenous ship owners to meet the demands of lifting the Nigerian crude oil, he said,” Let us take it step by step. Ships comply with international regulations, so, if you have a ship that, think of the Nigerian Ship owners, they have invested in excess of 4 billion dollars in the Nigerian Maritime industry when there was that gap in the National Shipping Line but because they did not have the trade, no matter how good the vessels are, they are going to deteriorate. You cannot expect them o be pumping money where money is not coming in.
“So this is an opportunity now for these people who have invested in the Nigerian economy, in the Nigerian Maritime industry, they have demonstrated a capacity to invest. This is now the opportunity, the trade is there; they will buy vessels that are compliant with the international standard. Don’t forget that you cannot carry crude oil without the vessel complying with international standards.
“Therefore, it is a matter of the investment is coming in, they can buy vessels that comply with the international standards and then of course, you have the Nigerian ship owners taking full advantage of this opportunity”.
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