Even as opposing camps in the quest for safety and security on Nigerian waters strategize, a frontline master mariner and oil industry magnate, Capt Emmanuel Ihenacho has called for more funding for the Navy to enable the outfit to establish an operational base on the high seas.
This, according to him, is important if government is desirous of curbing piracy on the nation’s waters. The base will enable the Navy to monitor activities of the pirates and sea robbers and also protect ships coming into Nigeria.
Speaking in Lagos last weekend to a selected team of media men, Capt. Ihenacho who is also Chief Executive Officer of Genesis Shipping Worldwide and Integrated Oil and Gas, condemned the attack on crew members of fishing trawlers whom, he said, caused the problem by selling their catches in the ports illegally, keeping their money on board and thus creating opportunity for the attackers.
On how to move the maritime industry forward in 2009, he called for plans to be put in place for ship building and other vital sector of the industry, noting that those who have vast knowledge and experience in shipping and maritime at large must be adequately engaged to involve policy and its implementation.
“We must evolve proper plans for the development and ship building; we cannot continue to operate when those who are vast in shipping and maritime are sidelined. These people should be employed to evolve policy for the industry”, Ihenacho said.
According to him, the partnership between NIMASA and NNPC on
Cabotage is sustainable and a good development for Nigerian ship owners. He enjoined the ship owners to seize the opportunity which would be created by the plan of NNPC to ferry crude oil from the Escravos to Warri Refinery for refining, letting the management of NNPC know that they are capable of offering the service.
On the deregulation of the downstream of the oil sector, Ihenacho said the deregulation would not work if its take- off is premised on the refurbishment of refineries in the country, noting that the masses would not suffer under deregulation more than they have experienced under the regulated petroleum regime.
He maintained that deregulation is the solution to adequate supply of petroleum in the country because the subsidy, which he said is in the region of N600 billion yearly does not get to the masses that it is meant for.
“You cannot have solution when prices are subsidized.
Setting up refinery cannot be financed by bank in a regulated industry where the owners cannot determine the price to sell the product”, he said.