A newly formed indigenous ship owners association -ship owners association of Nigeria (SOAN) is set to engage the federal government on the lifting of Nigerian crude oil.
Reveling this at the inaugural press briefing of the association, the former director general of Nigeria maritime administration and safety agency (NIMASA) Barr Temisan Omatseye, who is also the association’s Coordinator of Government Relations said that with everything in right places, Nigeria ship owners would start lifting crude oil with Nigerian ships.
“Be rest assured that by the time we put the economic issues before the government, they will see sense to engage Nigerian ship owners in lifting Nigerian crude oil”.
Recall that over the years, the lifting of Nigerian crude oil had somewhat been the exclusive privilege of foreign vessels, which had greatly caused Nigeria a lot of money, but with the advent of the new ship owners body, omatseye gave hope that Nigerians ships shortly would start lifting Nigerian crude oil if government provides the right environment.
“Our engagement is very simple, first things first. Government policies relating to the lifting of crude must change. We must move away from FOB policy to CIF policy, when that is done, that will open opportunities for all Nigerian ship owners to buy a vessel.
Secondly, government needs to provide funding for the ship owners. We are not asking the government to give us money, once government is ready to provide the right environment, I mean contract of afrightment, I can assure you, we Nigeria ship owners can definitely have our own chattered vessels, flag the Nigerian flag, train our Nigerian crew, I can assure you, lift Nigerian crude.”
Continuing he said “there is no magic in the lifting of Nigerian crude, all we need is a clear cut vision and policies driven by political will. I can assure you, with the current state of the economy where we are no longer getting much from the oil and gas sector, I believe it is suicidal for us to continue to engage foreign vessels flag vessels to lift our crude. You can imagine how bad the rate of exchange is now, and what is happening is that we are paying foreign ships owners’ freight rates to take our crude out.”