Even as the global oil tanker industry association has asked the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to immediately lift the ban placed on its members because no grounds have been given for the measure, the Nigerian Shipowners Association (NISA) has asked the Federal Government to probe the activities of the banned foreign vessels on Nigerian waters over the years.
According to the acting President NISA, Aminu Umar, most of the foreign vessels were operating illegally. “I have seen the contract for loading crude; it was included that any foreigner coming to load crude in Nigeria must come with Nigerian ship owners. NNPC had already included that in the bid but unfortunately they are not doing so. This is an opportunity for Nigerian ship owners to be part of the market which we have been fighting for long to play an active part in. We can also partner with international companies that owe VLCCs (Very Large Crude Carriers) so that we can partner with them to develop. It is an opportunity to sit with NNPC to see how we the owners of ships that will be coming to load crude will come in conjunction with Nigeria ship owners instead of using only foreign ship owners,” he said.
Similarly, the immediate past Chairman, Nigeria Maritime Expo, (NIMAREX) Planning Committee, Mrs. Margaret Onyema-Orakwusi asked President Muhammadu Buhari not to stop only at banning the vessels but also to apply sanctions. “I commend the FG for being bold to do that because every criminality must be arrested and we want the government to go a step further by applying sanctions. It is bold step in the right direction and it also validates what most of us have been saying that out there in the sea is like no man’s land because the criminality that goes on is alarming,” she said.
By Pita Ochai