Nigerian ship owners can access the US$200 million ship procurement loan to be facilitated by the Standard Chartered Bank of London.
Nigerian ship owners can now access the US$200 million ship procurement loan to be facilitated by the Standard Chartered Bank of London, the director-general of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Temi Omatseye, told journalists on Thursday in Lagos.
The loan was being guaranteed by NIMASA and that the agency was now waiting for the bank to make the funds available.
The fund would boost the US$40 million Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF) already warehoused by NIMASA, he added.
He, however, said that its allocation would be based on the past performances and cargo contracts executed by the loan applicants.
The NIMASA director explained that the agency had to source the loan after considering that the US$40-million would not go far in the procurement of ships.
On coastal shipping, Omatseye expressed surprise that 80 percent of services in the oil and gas sector had been taken over by foreign ship owners, saying that it was unfair.
He said that the agency had observed that about 90 percent of vessels providing marine services to International Oil and Gas Companies (IOCs) were not registered with NIMASA.
Omatseye stressed that the enabling act of NIMASA and the Cabotage Act had unambiguous provisions on the matter.
He said that all owners of vessels providing services to the IOCs should forward to NIMASA a list of their contractors by October 26.
According to Omatseye, NIMASA has signed an MOU with the Indigenous Ship Owners Association of Nigeria (ISAN) to serve as a Sea Watch.
On capacity building, Omatseye said that Nigeria had a shortage of about 50,000 seafarers and that the Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN) Oron, could only train 200 cadets annually.
He said that NIMASA would commence the training of seafarers at the school by September 2010.