Expert decries ‘grace period’ for single hull tanker phase out in Nigeria

 Capt. Fola Ojutalayo, a Senior Lecturer at the Federal Colege of Fisheries and Marine Technology, Lagos, says the ‘grace period’ given for single hull tankers to operate in Nigeria was not economically beneficial.

Ojutalayo said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.

NAN reports that the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) had in April extended the phase out period of single hull tanker to 2020 from an original 2015 deadline.

NIMASA had explained that the five years grace period was to allow the ship-owners some time to replace their fleets.

Ojutalayo said the extension would deny indigenous ship-owners the opportunity of participating in any trade outside of Nigeria.

“What is wrong with us that we cannot go with the international standard? That has been part of the problem that we have had over the time.

 “Our ship-owners run substandard ships; this is largely caused by corruption that is in our industry.

“It’s not as if ship-owners cannot afford to get good ships, but there is a lot of connivance that go on underground.

“They go and get this rickety ships, in the process they make a lot of money and when they bring the ship back to Nigeria to come and work, because they have made some money already from buying those scrap ships, they don’t even want to run their ships in a professional manner.

“At least we have been hearing about this single hull that it will be phased out, we should have a template that we are following.

“By now it should not be an issue for us to flow with the global trend in maritime.”

Ojutala said that indigenous ship-owners would not be able to work with international shippers who bring in petroleum products if they still operated single hull tankers by the original deadline.