The Nigerian Licensed Ship Chandlers Association (NLSCA) has raised an alarm over alleged impoundment of about 200 vessels belonging to Nigerian indigenes over offences which it said are unfounded.
This is even as the group revealed that not less than 80 Nigerian seafarers are currently languishing in the custody of the Nigeria Navy at its base in Apapa, Lagos over offences they claim to know nothing about.
President of Nigerian Licensed Ship Chandlers Association; Dr. Enebeli said the 200 vessels were arrested and kept in detention for a long time over administrative offences which could have been resolved immediately.
Enebeli who was reacting to a recent publication on the arrest of three Greece citizens, one American and nine blacks over alleged pirate activities in the Gulf of Guinea said that incessant arrests by the Navy is bad for development of Nigeria maritime sector.
Enebeli said “the correction of very negative and frivolous impression and incessant arrest by the Nigerian Navy is too bad for our maritime development.
“The Navy in the last three years has arrested over 200 indigenous vessels with little or no offenses and where there are offences it is administrative offences which could be resolved immediately, rather these vessels are arrested and kept for a long time”
He alleged that these excesses by the Navy have not enabled Nigerians to benefit from Cabotage Act and other outlets of indigenous shipping.
The Nigerian Navy had in February 2019 announced that it arrested about 130 vessels for crimes perpetrated in the maritime sector and other activities between 2018 and February, 28, 2019.
According to the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas, the arrests were made following the enhancement of the navy’s surveillance capability.