A University Lecturer and
Stakeholder in Maritime sector, Dr Inengisa Odum, has called on the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to ensure full implementation of the Cabotage Act of 2003.
Odum, who made the call in a chat with The Tide in Port Harcourt Tuesday said currently, regulation of Maritime Labour and Cabotage operation in the offshore oil and gas industry in Nigeria is weak.
He opined that NIMASA, as a parastatal of the Federal Government of Nigeria is being charged to regulate maritime activities in Nigeria in line with the scope and overall objectives of its Act of 2007, the Merchant Shipping Act of 2007 and that of Cabotage Act of 2003.
The university don noted that the Coastal and Inland Shipping Bill, otherwise known as Cabotage was conceived to protect Indigenous Ship owners, Seafarers Ship yards and investors from the imbalance between them and their foreign counterparts.
According to him, the Cabotage Act which was conceived to also ensure that Cabotage vessels are wholly-owned by Nigerians, registered in Nigeria, crewed by Nigerians and built by a Nigerian Shipyard as well as repair of Cabotage vessels is far from being achieved as many Nigerian seafarers roam the streets looking for maritime.
He lamented that since 2003 when the Act came on board, no one can count how many ships were registered in Nigeria, how many seafarers are engaged on Nigerian flagged vessels and how many shipyards in Nigeria can effectively handle repair of vessels.
The stakeholder said all hands must be on deck, including the National Assembly, the Ministry of Transportation and NIMASA to ensure its full implementation in the interest of the nation.