By DAPO OLAWUNI
Even as the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has announced that there is no going back on its decision to stop the use of single-hull tankers by December 31st 2020, President of Nigerian Licensed Ship Chandlers Association, Dr Martin Enebeli has called on the agency to have a re-think of it.
The decision taken by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) to phase out all single Hull tankers was supposed to kick-start in September 2002 to 2015 covering a 15-years span. The IMO later extended it to December 2020.
Enebeli in a chat with DAILY TREND NEWS last week argued that Nigeria does not have the capacity to build ships and that the country is not matured enough to ban single Hull vessels.
He said that single hull vessels are still being used in other parts of the world.
He argued that single hull vessels should be left to continue to operate in Nigeria, provided that the insurance companies are ready to insure the vessel and its cargo.
“The DG of NIMASA in person of Dr. Bashir Jamoh is a round peg in round hole, there is no doubt that he is a potent character and he deserves to be the DG, but our own point at this time differs in the sense that Nigeria does not build ships, we dont have capacity to build vessels”
“So, you cannot be in tandem with companies that have powerful dry docks to build and maintain vessels regularly, we dont even have the capacity to do routine maintenance for vessels”
“Single hull is still being used today in so many parts of the world that are considered as advanced countries are still using their single haul vessels, as far as the insurance companies agree to insure these hulls and the cargo, why are we bothering ourselves?
“We cannot continue to make regulations that are not beneficial to our people, those that made these regulations, it is beneficial to their own people”
“In Nigeria, we dont have dry docks, we dont have manpower, we dont even have cottage dry docks, even our welders are not equipped financially to buy a good equipment to be able to challenge a simple maintenance, not to talk of building a vessel” he said
Enebeli urged the NIMASA DG, Dr Bashir Jamoh to have a re-think on this issue, and to exhaust the insurance arrangement, saying that if the insurance companies have agreed to insure, then the single hull should be allowed to operate.
“It is for the benefit of our people, because of the cost implication of buying double haul tankers and maintaining it, we dont have any dry dock or ship building yard in Nigeria today and we need to trade, we cannot be making money for foreigners”
Enebeli warned that if NIMASA should go ahead and phase out single hull vessels, foreigners would come and overpower the matitime industry because most indigenous practitioners do not have the capacity to buy double hull vessels.