Not enough to deter quarks — Operators
By Godwin Oritse
THE Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has jerked up the financial bond for manning agencies in Nigeria to N5 million from N1 million with a view to keeping quarks away from the industry.
Disclosing this to Vanguard, Emmanuel Maiguwa, Chief Executive of a manning agency and President of Maritime Security Providers Association of Nigeria, MASPAN, said the reason for the increase in the financial bond requirement was because some manning agencies were not operating up to the standard.
He explained that the increase in the financial bond requirement will not solve the problem of quackery in the manning sub-sector of the maritime industry, adding that anybody can meet up with bond requirements and still decide not to play by the rules and regulations guiding the operation of the manning agency.
He said: “The fee for the manning licence is not the issue but there is a bond requirement and we understand why NIMASA raised the bond because some companies are actually cutting corners.
“There are lots of what we nickname mushroom companies and in NIMASA’s wisdom; they feel raising the financial requirements will eliminate them. We are of the opinion that it will not solve the problem. If I do not want to play by the rules, all I need to do is to get the money.
“So, the more money I have to acquire the licence and the more opportunities to have more companies under my portfolio but without improving my standards.
“Compliance with regulations, developing industry standards and enforcement and monitoring is what will actually improve the standard of manning agencies in Nigeria.
“And in the Maritime Safety Convention (MSC) the requirements are there, NIMASA is supposed to be carrying out a monthly audit and generating reports of what the manning agencies are doing. It is only when they do that that they can get feedback from the manning agencies as to what issues they are having with ship owners that is not enabling them to comply and these issues can be fixed.
“So, develop a standard for the industry that is higher than MSC. If you have a proper standard, do not bring the MSC and dump it on us. When you raise the standard, for example, certification, training and control, it will wither off the unserious players.”