Yenagoa – Maritime workers in Bayelsa State have blamed the high cost of marine transportation in the state on the absence of NNPC mega floating in the waterways.
Bayelsa is predominantly riverine with most of the communities far flung and could only be accessed through the use of helicopter, speed boats and other watercraft.
The floating station cited at Nembe during the tenure of Dr. Edmund Daukoru as Minister of Petroleum has been lying waste since its construction with the result that marine transporters are forced to rely on expensive fuel from black marketers and shylock filling stations selling twice the approved the pump price of N65.
The few functional mega filing stations in the state are cited in Yenagoa and do not sell in jerry can making it difficult for the maritime workers to purchase the product from these retailing outlets.
Though the state leadership of the Maritime Workers Union admitted that past administrations had tried at constructing a floating station at Nembe and Yenagoa areas of the state without success, he however noted that the building of a new mega station at Swali waterfront will help solve the abysmal poor distribution of petroleum product in the state.
The union decried the rational used by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) in choosing where mega filing stations are cited saying Bayelsa being a predominantly riverine state deserved functional floating stations to service its burgeoning maritime sector.
Chairman of Bayelsa District, Maritime Workers Union, Chief Lloyd Sese, who spoke to Sweet Crude in Yenagoa said the construction of a mega floating station at Swali waterfront which also houses the union office would go a long way in ameliorating the suffering of maritime transporters and the teeming population of indigenes in the riverine enclave.
He said the parameters submitted before the management of the NNPC for the citing of several mega stations in the state capital was wrong as the rate of population on land and along the sea is between 15 and 85 per cent.
Chief Sese added that the consumption of fuel by maritime sector was far greater than fuel used on land transportation.
According to him, â€œThe journey of one hour drive on land cost less than a journey of one hour on water transportation and the marine transportation consumes more fuel than land transportation.
â€œMore fuel is consumed along the waterways and the more fuel consumed the higher the fare charged. But with the citing of a mega station at the Swali waterfront/market, the maritime workers will now buy at the pump price instead of the black market.â€
Chief Sese called on the authorities of the NNPC to assist the maritime workers and the marine transporters by reversing the trend and improve the standard of marine transportation in the state.