NIMASA to Spend N10Billion On Wrecks Removal

… Promises Incentives to Shipbuilding Companies

By DAPO OLAWUNI

The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has said that it plans to spend N10billion to remove all the wrecks that have been identified on Nigerian territorial waters.

The agency has also threatened to descend on illegal ship scrap yards littering the coastlines in Nigeria, saying that their activities are constituting more danger to ship navigation.

NIMASA is also taking stock of the ship building companies operating in Nigeria and working out incentives for them with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)

Speaking at a press conference on Friday to mark his 100 days in office, Director General of NIMASA, Dr Bashir Jamoh argued that as far as wrecks removal on Nigerian waterways is concerned, nobody has the right to remove it except NIMASA.

He acknowledged that the issue of wreck removal has generated a lot of controversies among three government parastals in the maritime sector including Nigerian Ports Authority (NIWA) National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) with NIMASA.

Abandoned ships hindering navigation

He said that the three agencies have overlapping functions in their Act when it comes to wreck removal. On this, the NIMASA DG informed journalists that the rivalry would soon come to an end because the Ministry of Transportation has set up a committee to address the issue of wreck removal.

Speaking on wrecks identification and removal as it concerns NIMASA, Dr. Jamoh said “So far, NIMASA has engaged consultants over the years to identify the number of wrecks that we have on our waters, we have the report ready, we know the number, and according to the law, we would have to sell the wrecks, it is not free, if you see the amount of money we generate per tonnes from the wreck, you would never believe it”

“So, it is illegal for anybody to pick wrecks from the waterways, it is a national asset, and we would no longer condone it, we would descend on these people, and every dime must go back to government coffers.
So, if we identify a wreck, we would re over it, sell it so that we would further reduce the cost of removing others”

“If you know the quantum of what we are to spend in removing the wrecks, you cant believe it, we are thinking of spending over N10billion to remove all the wrecks across our territorial waters”

“If we say we want to leave it to NIWA, if you look at the total budget of NIWA, you begin to wonder where they would get money to remove the wrecks, but as I talk to you the Federal Ministry of Transportation has inaugurated a committee to look into these gray areas”

“NIMASA, NIWA, and NPA are working hand in hand to bring an end to these clashes so that we can give those that suppose to take action the responsibility to remove the wrecks” Jamoh stated

The NIMASA boss lamented that the activities of ship scrap yards along the coastlines were frustrating the removal of wrecks on the waterways.

“I discovered that there are lots of licensing issues, I wanted to descend on the scrap yards but I discovered there are internal issues, we cannot be the one that issue licenses and still go and harass them, so I am studying, I have over five license applying for renewal”

“When I started talking of descending on them, they got whim of it and started sending their licences for renewal, I have gotten more than 5 companies seeking renewal, this has given me a leeway because i have refused to treat their renewals, i asked them to be kept in view, i would have to do an inspection first to see those doing the right thing” Jamoh said

On shipbuilding companies incentives, Dr Jamoh said NIMASA is now taking audit of these industries to know their capacity and to find out if they are being put to full use.

He said that from preliminary investigations, NINASA has discovered that most of the ship building companies are producing at a very low rate because of the economic situation of the country and because of lack of spare parts and raw materials.

He said “We are now taking to the government to see how they can introduce physical incentives in terms of whatever they are going to import in terms of spare parts and other raw materials in producing these ships”

“On the issue of monetary policy also, we intend to approach the central bank to give incentives to the shipbuilding companies, this is not new in Nigeria, the manufacturing and agricultural sectors are getting such incentive, the aviation industry are also enjoying the incentives when importing their spare parts, it is high time the maritime industry also enjoy such incentive”

“As much as possible, we would continue to educate the international community about our own position, in doing so, we have established a Joint Working Group with representatives of the International Maritime Organisation, INTERTANKO which owns most of the tankers in the world, the INTERCARCO which owns the major cargoes that trade in the world, the BIMCO, ICS and other oil company conglomerates, they are all part of it”

“Every month, we meet together via Skype, Webinars or Zoom to discuss issues of progress in terms of challenges we are facing, and they are ready to give us corporation” he said

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