Nigerian ship owners partner with Greeks to build 40 ships

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LAGOS – The Nigerian Ship Owners Association (NISA) on Tuesday said it had sealeda partnership with Ship owners from Greece to bring in 40 vessels.
NISA President Niyi Labinjo, disclosed this during a meeting held in Lagos between NISA and ship owners from Greece.
Labinjo said that the ships, which will be of various classes and tonnage, would eventually belong to the indigenous ship owners within two years.
“We have signed the agreement between us and Greeks and Nigeria will acquire the 40 ships in not less than 24 months.
“NISA is providing a platform for younger and unborn generations and I wish the ships will be growing from 40 to 60 and to 100.
“A total of 600 vessels are operating on oil and gas; and only 10 per cent belongs to Nigerians as at 2015,’’ Labinjo said.
He said that if the number one priority was being given to Cabotage (coastal trade), the maritime industry would sustain Nigeria’s economy.
The NISA chief commended President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment to Cabotage by urging both NISA and shipping lines to absorb the `teeming’ youth.
“Nigeria can make between N3 trilliom to N7 trillion annually through the maritime industry.
“This can also produce five million jobs compared to aviation which is producing N21 billion annually,” he said.
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In a message to the meeting, Dr Patrick Akpobolokemi, the Director-General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), said the agency was established to regulate the industry within the rules and regulations of the law.
Akpobolokemi, who was represented by Mr Callistus Nwabueze, Executive Director, Maritime Labour and Cabotage Services, urged members of NISA to submit themselves to the regulation power of NIMASA, saying that they should take it as Nigerian laws.
“Some NISA members complained that they are not getting business and when NIMASA investigated we discovered that most of the Nigerian ships could not meet the international standard.
“The owners of the cargo usually complained that they cannot put their cargo on rickety vessels. I am happy now that this issue has been resolved.
“We can now boldly, with NISA, partner with international ship owners, which shows that we are ready for the business,’’ Akpobolokemi said
The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Transport, Alhaji Mohammed Bashar, said President Buhari had constituted a National Economic Council which had put NIMASA and Nigerian Ports Authority on the front line of Nigerian business.
“This shows that a new dawn has just come in the industry.
“Government will pay more attention to the maritime industry.
“Past governments had been able to put in place polices and law in spite of hardship experienced by the maritime operators.
” This event has shown that NISA is coming of age by coming up with Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF) to enable ship owners to have access to fund to flourish in their business,’’ Bashar said.
He said that maritime industry had achieved tremendous success on the establishment of Maritime Academy, Maritime University as well as sending Nigerian youths abroad on seafaring training.
Also speaking, the Nigerian Ambassador to Greece, Mr Lawrence Ayodeji, said that he facilitated the partnership to enable Nigeria flourish in entrepreneurship.
“Greeks themselves are seeking engagement outside their country because their economy is also facing challenges.
“Greeks are effective when it comes to shipping business. They are right now partnering with some countries in West Africa.
“They have been in business with the Ghanaian Government more than six years now,” Ayodeji said.
The Representative of Greek Ship Owners, Mr Constantine Kokkos, said that their meeting with the Nigerian Ambassador to Greece facilitated the partnership.
“We will start with building shipyard and government will assist because we have to create jobs for Nigerians.
“We are going to establish a college where we will train Nigerians,” Kokkos said.
He, however, urged Nigerian government and NISA to cooperate to achieve success. (NISA)
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