Ship owners currently operating in Nigeria now patronise shipyards in Ghana and other African countries to the detriment of Nigerian shipyard.
Some of the countries vessel operators now turn to for repairs and maintenance include Cameroun, Ghana and South Africa.
Disclosing this to Vanguard in Lagos recently, Mr. Uche Nwokedi, organiser of a two-day seminar on cabotage law and the oil and gas industry, said that the government proposed cabotage vessels financing fund (CVFF) should also include maintenance and repairs of vessels used for cabotage trade.
He said that the loss of revenue from non-patronage of Nigerian owned shipyard spread across the country is unquantifiable, and called on the government to address the trend and save Nigerian Shipyard from total collapse.
He, however, suggested that capacity building should include fabrication yard and dry docking facilities. His words: “Part 8 of the Act that is the Cabotage Vessels Financing Fund should also be considered in the sense that it would be adverse to our efforts if the necessary vessel repair facilities were not in place.
Capacity building should be all inclusive with maintenance and repairs being an essential part of it.
Presently, vessel operators turn to Cameroun or Ghana and South Africa for repairs and maintenance.”
Nwokedi also observed that too many government regulatory agencies at the ports collecting levies and charges may hamper the successful implementation of the act, as operators will have to deal with Customs, Ports Authority, Federal Environmental Protection Agency, Directorate of Petroleum Resources. The Navy, the SSS, Police, FIRS and now the Special Enforcement Unit of the NMA. Earlier in his welcome address, the Minister of State for Transport, Alhaji Mohammed Inuwa Musa, urged operators in both the maritime and oil and gas industries to reciprocate government's efforts towards creating an operation friendly environment, which according to him will ensure the realization of the objectives under the Cabotage Act.
He said: “While we are working hard to ensure that the Act is a success and is implemented without any hardships to all stakeholders, may I call for your support and goodwill to give the Act a chance to succeed.”