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Lack of funds hinders local shipping development, says mariner

 Capt. Dennis Osah,the first
President of the Nigerian Association of Master Mariners (NAMM) on Monday said
that lack of finance had hindered the development of local shipping operations.

The mariner told the news Agency of Nigeria(NAN) in
Lagos that a number of shippers who operated small crafts such as barges had
found it difficult to maintain their fleet.

Osah said the situation was closely linked to how the
banks in Nigeria treated request for financing for shipping operations.

“The indigenous shippers have not had it easy because
they cannot access funds from the banks.

“The banks are not interested in giving us loans to
improve on the shipping operations,” he said.

Osah also said that many indigenous ship operators had
not benefited from the cabotage law because it was difficult for individuals
to buy ships.

According to him, “vessel specifications are always given
when companies want to give contracts and it becomes difficult when you cannot
access funds to acquire the specified vessel for the operation.

“The  cabotage
vessel financing fund has not also been accessible and people cannot continue
waiting for no fixed time,” Osah said.

He said that charterers had also made shipping
operations difficult by owing for service rendered, adding that arbitration had
also not been able to solve the problem.

“It is as bad as charterers of barges not paying
for close to one year, and arbitration efforts have also not been able to solve
the problem,” Osah said.

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