By Godwin Oritse
Managing Director of Stazs Shipping Company, Mr Greg Ogbeifun has accused the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) of attempting to frustrate the delivery of newly acquired vessel â€˜M . V Osayameâ€™ byÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â insisting to crew the ship with foreigners.
In an interview with Vanguard, OgbeifunÂ decried NIMASAâ€™s apparent refusal to assist him in financing the aquisition of the vessel despite the directives of theÂ former Minister of Transport and Committee on Marine Transport to do so.
He stated that despite its refusal to be of financial assistance to realizing the acquisition of the South African built vessel, NIMASA also wanted to dictate to him the type of crew that will sail the vessel, a directive he vehemently opposed and used an all Nigerian crew to bring in the ship from South Africa to Nigeria.
The former master mariner disclosed that the vessel has started trading and NIMASA is shamelessly collecting taxes from the shipâ€™s activities despite that fact they never in any way supported her acquisition.
He said that with the kind of attitude NIMASA had displayed, he does not see any sincere effort at laying a good foundation for the future.
Ogbeifun stated that the lack of finance led to about four months delay adding that despite NIMASA refusal to assist the project the vessel was delivered in October last year.
His words â€œWe were completely disappointed that NIMASA did not heed the counsel of the National Assembly, they turned down an opportunity for NIMASA to show case their genuine interest in supporting the growth of indigenous ship owners in the country.
â€œThey have not been able to give any reason why they did not come on board to help this project to be actualised and we feel particularly bad about it because we have a right and entitlement for their support considering that now the vessel has commenced a five year contract, every day the vessel is working NIMASA is collecting two percent for their Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF).
â€œIn turning down that request to support the completion of the financing I do not they have a moral right to come and collect any money earned by that vessel.
â€œIf the National Assembly has not been able to seek redress for flouting their directives. then who am I
He noted that one of the biggest challenge facing the Nigerian maritime industry is the lack of political will by government to implement some of its policies. because appointments are made based on political considerations.