Mr Gambo Ahmed, the Director of Maritime Labour and Cabotage at the Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), says enforcement of the Cabotage Act is to provide jobs for Nigerians.
The director, who represented NIMASA Director-General, Dakuku Peterside, at the investiture of Dr Bashir Jamoh as President of Chartered Institute of Transport Administration of Nigeria, spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on the sideline of the event in Lagos on Wednesday.
Ahmed denied that the agency was not clamping down on vessels, but rather “keying them” to ensure compliance.
“We have an army of trained, but unemployed seafarers that are supposed to be gainfully employed, while the foreign vessels plying Nigerian waters engage foreign sailors.
“The Cabotage Act has been there, the agency before now has embarked on sensitisation campaign to shippers and widow periods given, so with end of the awareness period, enforcement is next,” Ahmed said.
He said that on-board placement of the seafarers was just one aspect of the Cabotag law meant to create jobs for Nigerians in the sector.
Ahmed said that other maritime countries had other forms of indigenous protective measure and Nigeria should not be an exception.
NAN reports that there has been outcries by shipping companies since the enforcement began a forth night ago as ships that run foul of the law are now being impounded and sanctions mated by the Agency.