By Kenneth Jukpor
Maritime experts have admonished the Federal Government to take a cue from the aviation sector by establishing an agency to be known as ‘Accidents Investigation Bureau (AIB)’ to provide in-depth study and statistics of accidents in the nation’s maritime domain.
This recommendation was made by Engr. Emmanuel Ilori during his paper on ‘Nigerian Maritime Industry: Technical Regulatory Development and Sustainability’ at the 2nd Edition of Nigerian Maritime Technical Summit organized by the Association of Marine Engineers and Surveyors (AMES) yesterday.
The opinion was endorsed by the various stakeholders at the conference; hence it was adopted as one of the recommendations from the summit.
Ilori also lamented that there was a dearth in the experienced marine engineers and surveyors, noting that the veteran operators were aging and there was no succession plan.
Earlier, the Executive Secretary of Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Mr. Hassan Bello called for the adoption of the Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement to drive the transport sector development in Nigeria.
Bello who made this call while delivering a paper with the title, “Nigerian Transport Policy: Maritime Dimensions”, maintained that the public sector must see itself as a servant to the private sector even as he said that the private sector must play the leading role in investment in transportation.
The Shippers’ Council boss stressed that the realization of multimodal transportation and integration of all transport infrastructure to the ports wouldn’t be possible without private sector involvement.
“I know we have huge deficit in transport infrastructure but I also see that there is an opportunity; the way forward is public private partnership so that the risks can be apportioned and shared. Like the dry ports that we have, the Nigerian Shippers’ Council is promoting Truck Transit Park, modern infrastructure driven by technology”
He explained that this development would enhance efficiency in the nation’s transport sector and consequently boost the nation’s economy.
“We must have inclusiveness, employment content of our infrastructure, more people will be employed and there will be export and Nigeria will diversify her economic growth. We have to have linkage with the hinterland and that is the beauty of it, goods supposed to go to and from the hinterland before they get to the people”
In his welcome address, the President of AMES, Engr. Charles Uwadia said that the maritime industry is standing on a tripod namely; the political i.e the policy, the technical dimension and funding, adding that without any of these in the right measure, the industry will falter.
While commending the Minister of Transportation, Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi for his presence at the last summit which held in 2016 and for his audacious steps in reforming the maritime sector through committees set up after the previous conference, Uwadia noted that the event recorded was a huge success.
He mentioned the committees set up after the first edition of the summit in 2016 to include the committee on national fleet, the rejigging of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), revamping of the Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN) Oron, saying that an interim Management Committee was set up to look at revamping the Academy.
“Presently, there is a committee in place to look into the ship registry to bring the standard of the registry to the international best practice and we know that you will all agree with me that this will attract shipping investors from other parts of the world when these things are implemented”, he said.
The AMES President noted that the association had been encouraged by Minister’s unusual enthusiasm to turn the industry around for the better even as he assured the Minister that members of AMES would continue to work with the government and her agencies as they aspire to make full use of their vast experience and resources in making the sector accomplish its full potentials.