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Grounded expert in shipping and among the third generation of Master Mariners produced by Nigeria, Captian Tajudeen Alao has expressed worry on the way and manner government composed the steering committee of the national steering committee, saying over 90 per cent of members do not know anything in shipping.
The Executive Secretary of Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Barr. Hassan Bello is the chairman of the Committee.
Alao, had worked with the Nigerian Navy, the defunct Nigerian National Shipping Line (NNSL), the Office of the Government Inspector of Shipping and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) before venturing into private shipping business.
Speaking in an interview on the activities of the committee, he said “I support it but there must be research and contributions from industry experts because a national carrier is a ship that goes all over the world. So the present committee members; 90 percent of them don’t know anything about international shipping”.
Continuing, he said “They don’t know how charter services are done, how agency services are done etc. You cannot supply boats to Mobil and say you want to do international shipping. People like Captain Emmanuel Iheanacho have done it before with two ships and went all over the world, it is not easy out there. So what type of ship, where is the cargo? We went to PIL, those who know about charter party; Engineer Chidi, Okoye, even Captain Biu, they are not in the committee and they are still alive”.
“You cannot build something on nothing. I worked in Iran, I interacted with them on the need to take Nigerian cadets and I met with Captain Cosmos, director of commercials. He said I should go and put it in writing. I told him this is a government to government issue that they will not take women, they don’t mind whether you are a Christian or Muslim but we didn’t take advantage. Iran was at war. How many years and they were still able to keep their economy because they had their ships. We went to Vancouver for three months, we will go to Australia, carry iron ore in Brazil.
“Their ships were going to Europe, they were able to keep and maintain their country with the economic blockade with the ships they had. Their planes were not going anywhere but their ships were going all over the world. We are not going to Kuwait, Saudi Arabia or Iran; we are going to PIL – a businessman. The British people who started National Line also started Kuwait and Saudi national lines. That is why our NNSL ship colours was the same with theirs. National carrier is a good thing but bad approach. NNLG worked, it trained so many people up to masters but those ships were not registered in Nigeria because the money was from abroad even though they had Nigerian names.
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