The Indigenous Ship Owners Association of Nigeria (ISAN) says Nigeria is losing about two trillion dollars (N300 trillion) in capital flight annually to foreign ship owners operating in Nigerian waters.
Capt. Niyi Labinjo, General Secretary of the association, told the News Agency of Nigeria(NAN) in Lagos yesterday that the loss was due to influx of foreign vessels illegally involved in coastal trade in Nigeria
He said the invasion of cabotage trade by foreign ship owners had cost huge losses, including unemployment to many Nigerian seafarers.
"By also not engaging Nigerians in transportation of refined petroleum products, the nation is losing severally.
"If the indigenous ship owners are allowed to participate effectively in the coastal trade, Nigeria can have about five million Nigerian employed as seafarers,’’ he said.
Labinjo said that many vessels that could not work in Europe and Asia where there was stiff enforcement of regulation, were now found in Nigeria.
He expressed regret over non-enforcement of laws on the cabotage regime.
Labinjo said that some people in authority failed to understand the implications of not giving Nigerian jobs of petroleum products transportation.
"Allowing foreign ship owners to bring more tankers and offshore support vessels into the country will compound unemployment situation among Nigerian operators.
"By also not engaging Nigerians in transportation of refined petroleum products, the nation is losing severally,’’ he said.
Labinjo said that over 800 million barrels of refined oil were being lifted annually by sister vessels of foreign ship owners.