The Federal Government may be losing an estimated $300 million yearly from offshore berthing of ships due to insecurity and high cost of insurance.
Speaking at the 3rd Annual Conference tagged: “A Day with Nigeria Maritime Students 2018,’’ organised by Platforms Communications in Lagos yesterday, the former Director General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Mr Temisan Omatseye, urged the Federal Government to address the high cost of doing business in its ports to make them cheaper and attractive for port users.
The loss, according to experts, is traceable to cargo diversion to neighblouring ports due to the classification as a high risk zone and the attendant high insurance premium. Last month, for instance, some crew members of a foreign vessel were kidnapped and taken hostage. So, the foreign vessels who must call Nigeria must be heavily insured and this impacts on the cost of cargoes.
According to him, foreign ship owners have taken over all the maritime businesses in the country, while the ship-owners ”are left with nothing” Nigerian shippers should be allowed to take charge of their goods as soon as they arrive the country because this is what is applicable all over the world.
“All the foreign ship owners will not allow Nigerians to get near vessels as soon as they arrive the country, in spite of being the landlord of the ports. “We want the government to assist Nigerian ship owners to be in charge because by so doing, they will create more employment for teeming youth.
“Nigeria will soon be competing with its foreign counterparts with the recent equipment government has provided for the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), which is presently having multiplier effect on its operations,’’ Mr Omotseye said.
He commended NIMASA for the establishment of the National Seafarer Development Programme (NSDP), which has assisted in the training of some Nigerian youths for Sea time training. The former NIMASA DG regretted that over 2.1 billion litres of petroleum products are currently trapped offshore following the withdrawal of services by the foreign vessel owners.
Nigerian National Petroleum Corpora- tion (NNPC) had requested the foreigners to bring the cargo to the shore while it will redistribute to the various depots. But the foreigners could not agree to the terms and so decided to withdraw their vessels. This has left the Corporation stranded without knowing how to evacuate the products.