By Godfrey Bivbere
A maritime expert and shipowner, Captain Emmanuel Ihenacho has faulted claims by the management of the Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) that indigenous shipowners do get jobs in the petroleum sector because most of their ships are not sea worthy.
Reacting to the claims made by the agencyâ€™s helmsman, Temisan Omatseye that most of the vessels own by indigenous operators do not meet the required classification, Ihenacho said that it is not the place of the foreign operators to determine the standard need in the country but NIMASA itself.
Speaking with journalists in his Lagos, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Genesis Worldwide Shipping noted that NIMASAâ€™s failure to assert its authority on the issue of standard had resulted in foreign operator taking decisions themselves.
He also pointed out that the claim was only a dummy sold by foreign operators to ensure continuos dominance in the business and expressed surprise that the Director General of NIMASA would say a thing like that at a time when â€œwe are fighting to restore the integrity of NIMASA.â€
Captain IhenachoÂ faulted â€œthe inability of the Nigerian authorities to compel importers of petroleum products to bring their products bought with the nationâ€™s resources (foreign exchange) into the country rather then allow them stay off the coast of Cotonuo, from where they determine who lifts the product from their vessel.
Apart from depriving Nigerian shipowners from lifting petroleum products, berthing of ships at the coast of Cotonuo robs the management of NIMASA and the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) from collecting revenue that would have accrued to them as charges and levies.
He also disclosed that the umbrella body of shipowners in the country, Indigenous Shipowner Association of Nigeria (ISAN), had written to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) of the need for proper monitoring and enforcement.According to him, â€œIf Nigeria gives you money to import, you must bring it to Nigeria,â€ he concluded.