In line with the African Union Maritime Agenda, 2063, the African Ship-owners Association is considering the formation of a Continental P&I club with a view to strengthening the African shipping industry.
Protection and Indemnity or P&I club is a non-governmental, non-profit mutual or cooperative association of marine insurance providers with members which consists of ship owners, operators, charterers and seafarers under the member companies.
Speaking on the sidelines of the just concluded World Maritime Day celebration in Lagos, the Director General of the association in Nigeria, MrsFolukeAkinmoladunOpemiposi, said that although there seems to be nothing going on at the regional level, however, there are policy discussions at the regional.
Opemiposi said that the P&I is a long term plan and an inevitable part of the expansion of the African maritime strategy.
She disclosed that each country in the African continent is developing its own policy in line with overall African maritime policy directive with a view to bringing the Continental maritime policy to fruition so that the agenda 2063 can be realized.
She stated: “For now, on a regional level, there is nothing concrete but there are policy discussions though not yet concrete.
‘‘This is in line with the African maritime agenda that is the AU’s agenda 2063; it is a long term plan. So the P&I club is an inevitable part of the African maritime strategy.
So we have to work backwards, if we are talking about a continental policy, we have to start from the national level.
“What is the insurance landscape in each country, how is it covered, how does P&I come into play when it comes to marine insurance and things of that nature.
“We have to first of all understand what is on ground before we understand what we are doing. So that is the stage we are in right now.
“Understanding what the laws, what the policies are what the financial requirements for such a strategy and the financial implications. And this is off-course, specifically to Nigeria, want to move more into the non-oil sector and the maritime sector is one of its major areas.
“So it is a holistic development plan but it has to start from first recognizing the fact that we have a system we need to improve upon.
“For the Continental, yes the agenda is there but you need to break it down to the state level, that is the stage we are in now.
“There is an idea towards that, whether it will crystalize or not, it still depends on the states working together, first on working out their state structures.”
The association boss further disclosed that the entire initiative is more private driven for now, saying that the government is not as involved as much as the group would have wanted. She also said that the maritime industry can only grow more if the private sector grows, noting that it is a balance between the two.
“First, we will need the government to put in the structures that will ensure that P&I can operate properly in Nigeria but more importantly we also need to grow in-house capacity to take up those positions when they become available” she stated.