A foremost Master Marine and former Minister of Interior, Capt. Emmanuel Iheanacho has called for the unbundling of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).

Speaking in his office last week, Iheanacho said NIMASA had lost focus and needed to be redirected.

He said the agency’s lackluster performance over the past five years led to the collapse of many Nigerian shipping companies.

“The maritime industry has been static for a number of years. We have not made any progress at all and central to that lack of progress is the disappointment that operators had in regards to the authority that was supposed to midwife the growth and development in the industry.

“Unfortunately, a few years ago we warned that there was a drift in terms of the focus of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), in terms of what they should be doing.

“We felt that NIMASA really ought to be concentrating on regulating the technical aspect of shipping – safety – but we were alarmed at some point in time when a law was conceived which allowed the focus of NIMASA to dissipate at that time.

It was no longer a technical regulatory agency for shipping and safety but became all kinds of things to all kinds of people because some times, we see that organization signing MOU’s with military organistions, universities and all kind of things that were never contemplated in the beginning.

So from being an organization that was supposed to midwife the growth of indigenous capacity, it became one that absolutely sounded the death knell for most of our indigenous operators because NIMASA concentrated its effort solely on collection of levy and it became a money-making organization.