Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State and Rotimi Amaechi, minister of transportation have confirmed their intention to grace this year’s edition of the Ship Owners Associations of Nigeria’s (SOAN) AGM and end of the year get together dinner as special guest and chief host, respectively.
The AGM, which is slated for December 7 in Lagos, will also be honoured by other captains of the industry and heads of strategic agencies of government including the director general of NIMASA, executive secretary of NSC, managing director of NPA, acting managing director of NIWA and the Central bank governor, who is expected to present the lead paper.
Announcing the AGM in a media briefing in Lagos on Friday, Greg Ogbeifun, president of SOAN, said that the AGM/dinner is for all shipowners as SOAN has sent out invitation to the Nigerian Ship-owners Association (NISA) and others.
“This year, we have decided to have a workshop so that our outing won’t just be only a social event, but an intellectual one that will address critical issues that we think the industry needs to survive,” he said.
Continuing, he said: “As we speak, Nigerian ship owners are passing through hard times such that apart from product carriers, no Nigerian owns a crude tanker that could lift crude and many ship owners were not able to service their credit facilities with the banks. This is why the theme of this year AGM is ‘Giving Critical Lifeline to the Nigerian Maritime industry’.”
According to him, the AGM creates an opportunity to listen to captains of the industry on the best ways to simulate shipping business in Nigeria. Ogbeifun, who noted that Nigerian ship owners are still struggling to survive from the effects of fallen prices of crude oil in the international market, said that the management of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), has composed a committee to work out modalities for the implementation of SOAN idea on sea time training for Nigerian cadets towards addressing the dearth of quality manpower in the sector.
“The nation’s shipping sector has been battling with the issue of lack of well trained and qualified seafarers due to lack of articulated programmes to replace the defunct Nigerian National Shipping Line (NNSL), which helped to train the crop of ageing master mariners that we have today,” the SOAN president said.