Nigeria’s apex maritime regulator, the Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) said itwas time to begin the development of the country’s shipping and maritime human capacity to bridge and save about N930 billion ($6bn), which the country was losing in capital flight to foreign seafarers.
NIMASA’s Director-General, Mr Patrick Akpobolokemi, said the Nigerian investors must begin to take strategic position in the maritime sub-sector hinting that the business of scrapping and recycling of the one-hull ships remained lucrative and would become ripe in 2015.
He said this in a speech delivered at a training programme in Oron, Akwa Ibom State organised by the Maritime Reporters Association of Nigeria and sponsored by NIMASA.
Noting that government was making calculated efforts to get investors to venture into areas of ship scrapping and recycling, ahead of 2015, when single hull vessels were expected to be completely phased out, he said a regulation by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has put owners of single hull vessels in a tight corner in the last one decade, as it favours double hull ships to operate in the water.
Now by the IMO regulation, no single hull vessel would operate after 2015. “Nigeria loses an estimated $3 billion (about N465 billion) annually to foreign seafarers.
If you add the remuneration of other foreigners in the shipping and logistics chain, we would probably be talking of losing about double this amount.
“The implication of retaining about $6 billion (N930 billion) in the country annually cannot be underestimated,besides, a lot of foreign income can also be earned from seafarers working on foreign-flagged vessels,”Akpobolokemi, who was represented by the agency’s deputy director, Public Relations, Isichei Osamgbi, said.
Information from Leadership was used in this report.