The Sun – SOAN boss calls for investments in ship-breaking, recycling

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31 December 2015 – A local shipper and Presi­dent of the Ship Own­ers Association of Nige­ria (SOAN), Mr. Greg Ogbeifun, has described ship-breaking and recy­cling as huge revenue earn­ers, even as he urged inves­tors to avail themselves of the inherent potentials in the venture.

Ogbeifun, who made the observation in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Monday, said hitherto, ship wrecks were taken to for­eign countries for breaking and recycling but the cost of moving such wrecks had made it unprofitable and unattractive.

“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 US, UK, 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,’’ Ogbeifun said. He said people were also desperate to work.

“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,’’ Ogbei­fun said.

He, however, noted that some companies had started shipyard expan­sion even as he urged them to key into the sector as it has potentials for develop­ing and giving the required service locally.

“Companies such as Starzs Marine and Engi­neering Ltd., 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 Ltd at Onne, Riv­ers,” he said.

Ogbeifun expressed op­timism that investment in the sector and the readiness to build capacity in the use of the required technology.