Two boats, MVC Rider and MVC Radiant were launched by a maritime consultancy service firm, Rangk Limited, in Lagos.
The event, which took place by the quayside amid outpouring of goodwill messages on a feat accomplished by the company, witnessed the presence of several dignitaries including former Naval Chief, Rear Admiral Allison Madueke (rtd), renowned banker Mr. Pascal Dozie, the Ohaneze Indigbo Lagos, Chief Oliver Akubuoha
The boats, which are fast support and intervention vessels, are made of aluminium and equipped with caterpillar engines, and they were built by the Breaux Brothers of Houma for Edison Chouest Offshore, Louisiana, United States of America.
Chairman of the Group, Rear Admiral Godwin Kanu (rtd) decried the present challenges facing the maritime sector of the economy, particularly inadequate funding. He disclosed that sourcing the funds for the procurement of the two boats was frustrating as interest rates are in double digits making investments and businesses very expensive.
“The present liquidity squeeze caused a set-back to even pre-depression levels of the early 1990s leading to high and unstable global interest rates”, he said.
He called on the Federal Government to heed the advice of maritime operators in seeking ways to assist local operators, adding that it was only through direct interventions by the government that the objectives of Cabotage Act and Local Content Act be attained.
He enjoined Federal Government to extend the zero import duties for the importation of aircrafts to the procurement of vessels in the maritime sector of the economy.
According to him, the maritime sector of the economy accounts for more than 90 per cent of imported cargo into Nigeria, contributing more than 60 per cent to the gross domestic products (GDP) of the country and employs over 30 per cent of the active workforce.
Kanu lauded Rangk Limited for acquiring the two vessels which was supported by Fidelity Bank Plc. A representative of the Commercial Counsellor of the Embassy of the United States of America, Mr. Kremp Martins also hailed the firm for the procurement of the boats.
According to him, it was one of the fruits of the existing good relationship between Nigeria and USA.
While thanking Fidelity Bank Plc for their support of the maritime sector of the economy, the Chairman Indigenous Shipowners Association of Nigeria (ISAN), Chief Isaac Jolapamo decried the high interest rates prevalent in banks’ lending policies.
He said the high lending rates by banks were not good for the growth of indigenous ship owners in the maritime sector of the economy vis-à-vis their foreign counterparts.