Shipowners bemoan AMCOM debt recovery system for maritime assets
Indigenous ship owners have called on the Ministry of Transportation, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and Judiciary to intervene in the increasing number of seized maritime assets by the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) over unsettled indebtedness.
The ship owners also suggested the creation of a liaison body to engage AMCON and other relevant bodies in the business of enforcing seizure clauses, where tenable, while lamenting that the number of impounded vessels on Nigerian waters by AMCON is over 15.
The former President of Nigerian Shipowners Association (NISA), Aminu Umar, said the country’s shipping industry is dying as a result of unfavourable business environment occasioned by harsh government policies, which makes it difficult for the assets to repay their loans.
Umar, who is the Chief Executive Officer of Sea Transport Limited, said the seized vessels due to indebtedness to banks are rotting away.
“I think it is important for ship owners and the regulator in the industry like NIMASA, to engage AMCON and as well as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) because I know that there are so many ships that are under arrest and they are sinking, which is not in the interest of AMCON and EFCC.
“I believe that at the end of the day they want to recover the loans but they should as well ensure that the assets are being utilised to get back that fund that is taken,” Aminu stated.
He further explained that the ships on water are rusting everyday and not maintained, noting that the value is going down and will get to a point the ship would sink.
“If the ship sinks, the person has not paid the money, assets that are on rent have sunk, so, everybody has lost because the purpose for it is to be able to use it and return it to recover that money.
“As we speak AMCON has nothing less than 15 ships under arrest. It is left for AMCON to set up a department that would manage these ships. They can outsource it to a reputable company to run and manage them, while they work out a lasting solution with the obligor to fulfill its obligation. Some of them get refinanced or recapitalised or look at the terms and resolve to opt out,” he added.