Poor Shipping Environment - Nigeria, Other African Countries Ranked Low By UN - VANGUARD
By Oko Ebuka
Despite Federal Government's efforts in the fight against maritime environmental degradation and hazards, Nigeria is ranked among countries with the lowest scores on ships that have poor environmental indicators.
According to a recent report released by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, UNCTD, 2019, Nigeria scored 0.38 per cent on vessels fitted with ballast water treatment systems.
The report further indicated that Nigeria recorded zero per cent on vessels fitted with scrubbers and on vessels compliant with tier-three regulations to reduce nitrogen-oxide emissions correspondingly.
This is far below the record of Liberia which, according to the report, recorded 19.51 per cent on vessels fitted with ballast water treatment systems, 4.44 per cent on vessels fitted with scrubbers, and 0.34 per cent on vessels compliant with tier-three regulations to reduce nitrogen-oxide emissions correspondingly.
The report also revealed that other African countries like Togo and Sierra Leone recorded zero per cent on all the understudied indications, except Egypt which recorded 0.26 per cent on vessels fitted with ballast water treatment systems and zero per cent in others.
The report equally showed that among the top 50 flag States by number of ships, the registries with the best performance for ballast water treatment systems are the Isle of Man with 33.33 per cent, Hong Kong, 30.47 per cent and the Marshall Islands with 28.66 per cent. As regards scrubbers, the largest shares are those of Greece with 9.25 per cent of its registered ships, followed by the Marshall Islands with 8.64 per cent and Malta with 7.64 per cent. Vessels fitted with ballast water treatment systems and zero per cent in others have Norwegian International Ship Register as the highest with 11.66 per cent.
Thus, from the statistics above, Nigeria is not improving in the fight against environmental pollution especially in the seaports.
Speaking on the issue, the Director-General, Nigerian Chamber of Shipping, NCS, Ify Obiageli, told Vanguard Maritime Report, that Nigeria was yet to have an environment free from pollution and carbon dioxide due to the complex nature of Nigerians who deliberately pollute the environments by dropping dirt in inappropriate places.
She said: "Nigerians need a dramatic revolution of the mind to be able to understand the ethics of having a cleaner environment because over the years, they have been dropping dirty things in inappropriate places."
She, however, acknowledged efforts of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, and other maritime agencies that have been creating awareness and educating shipping companies and shop owners on the need for a cleaner environment.