By Godwin ORITSE
A group, the Association of Marine Engineers and Surveyors, has decried the continuous purchase of vessels without having them checked by experts, a development that has given rise to our nation’s waters being littered with outdated and broken down vessels. Speaking to news men in Lagos, President of the group, Mr Joseph Oviero, said that if the development was not checked, this category of Nigerians will continue to run into debt.
“Nigerian investors desirous to own a ship must engage professional mariners to interpret his trade requirement for a suitable ship in fitness and capacity to make returns on investment”, Oviero stated. He also called on the financial institutions to engage the services of marine engineers to conduct comprehensive pre-purchase survey and valuation of the intended vessel, before purchase, so as to ascertain the sea worthiness of the vessel.
He noted that no foreign ship broker or seller can protect the Nigerian interest than a fellow Nigerian, adding that it is unacceptable then that a primary lending institution in the Cabotage Scheme does not have an exclusive marine engineer professional to protect their interest. Oviero explained that the involvement of members of the association, will not only reduce the investment risks, but, attract global participation in the nation’s maritime industry.
Members of the group noted that despite the individual advice that financial institutions get from them, they (Primary Lending Institutions), keep making the same mistake again and again.
The group commended the National Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP), initiated by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), to bridge the gap of manpower deficiency currently being experienced in the county. They further explained that they have had terrible experiences with some indigenous ship owners in the purchase of vessels adding that a lot of them, ship owners, have incurred bad debts as a result of their ignorance in the purchase of vessels.