Ship owner calls for investments in ship-breaking in Nigeria

President of SOAN, Engr. Greg Ogbeifun

President of the Ship owners Association of Nigeria(SOAN) Mr Greg Ogbeifun, has called on investors to key into available opportunities in Nigeria’s ship-breaking and recycling sector.
 Speaking in an interview, Ogbeifun said that prior to this time, wrecked ships were taken to foreign countries for breaking and recycling, but that the cost of moving such wrecks had made it unprofitable.

“There are a huge number of wrecked ships scattered over the waterways of Nigeria.

“Until the 1960s, ship-breaking was considered a highly mechanized operation concentrated in industrialized 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 are minimal and are desperate to work.

“The aim was to maximize profit, but today, in Nigeria these vessels are left 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 said.

The SOAN President, however, said that some companies had started shipyard expansion to key into the sector, which has potential 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 that will 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 for partnership in ship-breaking with Starzs Marine and Engineering Ltd at Onne, Rivers State,” he said.

Ogbeifun was optimistic that investment in the sector, and with the readiness to build capacity in the use of required technology, would open the sector for greater number of jobs for Nigerians.