The Chairman, Indigenous Ship Owners Association of Nigeria (ISAN), Chief Isaac Jolapamo, says Nigeria loses more than N2 trillion in capital flight to foreign ship owners.
Jolapamo disclosed this on Tuesday at the extra-ordinary general meeting of the association in Lagos.
He said Nigeria had failed to take advantage of its vast untapped maritime potentials.
According to him, the maritime sector is capable of providing employment for about five million Nigerians directly or indirectly.
“It is disheartening to note that Nigeria with a large army of teeming youths created by unemployment, has failed to take the full advantage of the untapped potentials in our maritime industry to engage gainfully these youths, giving them hope and to keep them away from mischief. After all, an idle hand is the devil’s workshop.’’
Jolapamo urged ship owners to place the future of the industry above their personal interests and bury their differences to move the industry forward.
The association chairman said it was important that indigenous operators participate in the carriage of oil and gas to make government’s transformation agenda realisable.
“We have identified participation in the carriage of Nigerian crude oil and gas, general cargoes of about 150 million tonnes per annum and the domestic cabotage trade as very important for our socio-economic development to make the transformation agenda of Jonathan’s administration realisable.
According to him, other developed and developing nations had used their maritime industry to develop their economies.
He cited the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada as some of the developed countries that had exploited to the fullest their maritime capability.
He noted that India, South Korea, Malaysia, Indonesia were other examples of developing nations that had used their maritime resources to develop their economies.
Jolapamo argued that no nation which neglected its maritime resources ever developed, and therefore, urged indigenous ship owners to move away from things that divide them.
He urged them to pay attention to the establishment of an indigenous shipping line with national carrier status to provide jobs for Nigerian youths.
Mr Ibrahim Zailani, Executive Director, Maritime Labour and Cabotage Services, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), promised to support the association.
Zailani said NIMASA believed that many benefits would accrue to the maritime industry with a unified ship owners association.