The Nigerian Indigenous Ship-owners Association (NISA) may soon engage the nation’s petroleum regulatory agency, the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) in a long war, to end the current collection of Offshore Safety Permit (popularly called crew passport) fee, which has been described as deliberately “extortion” of the former by the DPPR.
Seasoned shipping guru and NISA Presidential candidate, Capt. Dada O. Labinjo stated this at the weekend, pointing out that the continuing collection of US $620 per seafarer, before registering crew to work aboard vessels to pick petroleum products was both outrageous and exploitative.
Labinjo also painfully noted that the DPR would not issue or renew any DPR licence, until it has collected its levy, in respect of OSP charges.
“This is extortion. It is pure extortion!”, he indicated, pointing out that a system that milks anyone of $620 per seafarer; and $6200 (over N1 million) per a crew of 10 seafarers, is nothing short of sheer exploitation.
“The DPR has nothing to do with seafarers on board a ship. Its business begins with the oil and gas; and ends with the vessel; so why raise levy on the crew?” he posited, explaining that such collections had directly impacted negatively on the competitiveness of the Nigerian business terrain, despite the efforts of the Federal Government, to the contrary.
He wondered how an OSP would cost $620 (about N105,000), when a Nigerian international passport does not cost up to N15,000; and lamented that the DPR had cashed in on the gentle nature of the NISA vision, to perpetuate the extortion.
“The DPR is helping to increase the running cost of business in the country. It is making the field uncompetitive. It is extortion. It is pure extortion. Ironically, the DPR has no business with the constitution of the crew”, he stated further, noting that the NISA has the capacity to end the exploitation.
Speaking on his modus operandi, Labinjo who said his ultimate aim is to “bring back our jobs” would be to harness the professional expertise and commitment of the maritime lawyers with the persevering spirit and skills of the ship-owners to frontally engage the DPR, remaining unbending, unrelenting and unwavering until the extortion was ended.
“NISA has the capacity. We have the competence. We must find a legitimate way to stop this extortion. And it may be the one of the steps we must take, as we take decisions to ensure our survival!”, he concluded.