President of Ship owners Association of Nigeria (SOAN), Mr. Greg Ogbeifun
President of the Ship owners Association of Nigeria (SOAN), Mr. Greg Ogbeifun has enjoined investors to tap the potential of ship breaking and recycling in the country.
Apart from creating employment opportunities for the youths presently roaming the streets for non-existent jobs especially in the urban centres, Ogbeifun maintained that the move would also add value to the economy.
Ogbeifun, who is the Chairman of Starzs Group of companies made the call in a chat with journalists,. According to him, prior to this time, shipwrecks were taken to foreign countries for breaking and recycling but the cost of moving such wrecks has made it unprofitable to continue to do so.
“There are many wrecked ships scattered over the waterways of Nigeria. Until the 1960s, ship-breaking was considered a highly mechanised operation concentrated in industrialised countries such as the United States, United Kingdom , Germany and Italy. From the early 1980s, ship owners sent their vessels to the scrap yards of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, the Philippines and Vietnam where payment, health and safety standards were minimal,” he said.
Giving an insight on why there are many wrecks and derelicts in Nigeria’s territorial waters which has cost the federal government billions of naira annually to remove, Ogbeifun said: “The aim was to maximise profit but today, in Nigeria, these vessels are abandoned midstream and around waterfronts within the country. The cost of towing these vessels to other parts of the country makes it no longer profitable for ship-breaking and recycling of steel”.
He revealed that some companies had started shipyard expansion to key into the sector, which had potential for developing and giving the required service locally in the years ahead.
“Companies such as Starzs Marine and Engineering Limited, operators of the Starzs Shipyard at Onne, have commenced shipyard expansion to incorporate ship-breaking. However, there is need for serious foreign partnership in terms of utilisation of the best available technology. There are small activities in ship-breaking by some firms down south in Calabar. The Indians have also indicated interest in partnership in ship-breaking with Starzs Marine and Engineering Limited at Onne, Rivers State,” he added.
He expressed hope that investment in the sector and the readiness to build capacity in the use of the required technology would open the sector for greater number of jobs for Nigerians, especially the youth.
Source: this day live. 8 January 2016