The Occasion marking the Christening, Dedication and Commissioning of MV Osanyamo, a brand new ship acquired by the Nigerian foremost shipowner, Engr Greg Ogbeifun has come and gone, but the memories of the event will live for ever in the minds of everyone who attended the epoch event.
In this Special Report, Platform Reporters’ Sylvanus Obasi captures the mood, the atmosphere and the emotions expressed by shipping moguls and other notable dignitaries who spoke at the event. Enjoy the excerpts:
Barr Hassan Bello, Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers Council:
“I am glad to witness today’s occasion. We are here today to commission not just a vessel, but a brand new vessel by the CEO and Chairman of the STARZS Group, who also is the arrowhead of Ship Owners Association of Nigeria (SOAN). Engr Greg Ogbeifun did not only re-invent the wheel, he has actually elongated the beauty of its process, in a most significant way.
“Today’s occasion shows that Nigerians can successfully operate ships. I am happy, and I believe everybody here is happy for this achievement. I must thank Greg and his company, Starzs for making us proud. Thank you all “.
Mrs Margaret Orakwusi, Chairman of Ship Owners Forum:
“Starzs has made us happy and proud. I thank you so much Greg for this deal. We are here today to launch a brand new vessel. We have not seen a lot of that in our shores. So we thank you very much, and I think that is the way to go.
“We want to appeal to government to enable indigenous shipowners to acquire vessels like this because when you have a vessel like this, it will last 30 – 40 years. What am I driving at? Investment in shipping is a long time project. So the funding has to be right.
“A situation you borrow and pay high interest rate, any thing above 5% leaves you at a great disadvantage. So, we appeal to financial institutions to give us at 5% so we can compete and be able to grow the industry.
“Maritime is the future of Nigeria. It’s not oil & gas. Shipping can offer millions of employment. We rely much on importation and exportation, lets now take effective control of the freight. I thank you Greg, and may God bless you and may the ship sail safe “.
Capt Adamu Biu, Former Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers Council:
“Today is indeed a happy day for most of us in the maritime industry, and our friends and our well wishers. What our friend and colleague, Greg has done is so surprise to us, and every Nigerian whether you are in the shipping industry or not, it doesn’t matter. The truth of the matter is this, like my sister (Mrs Orakwusi) said, this industry is the industry that will take the nation where it wants to go in the future.
“For instance, look around the hall, out of every 10 items you see here, 9 of them is imported. How are they coming in? They are coming in by sea. What comes by air is not up to a quarter of what we consume or use in this country. The maritime industry is as strong if not stronger than the oil industry, believe me that is a fact.
“Our brother, Greg has taken big risks and has shown tremendous courage to get to where he is now. May God bless him. We also wish that some of us in the industry will take a cue from where he started.
“The vessel we are commissioning today is especially going to be used in the coastal trade within our waters. Let us not forget that the shipping industry is not restricted to the coastal waters. We must also venture into foreign ocean-going vessels. We must head that way because that is the way out. But what Starzs has done is in the right direction, and may God Almighty help Starzs “.
Barr Mrs Obiageli Obi, DG Nigerian Chamber of Shipping:
“I just want to tell everyone that am so happy to be here today. This is like a dream come true. It’s like impossibility has been made possible. There is so much talk that we can’t have new vessels, and all of a sudden, it is there in our shores.
“Today is one of the greatest days in the history of shipping in Nigeria, that we have such a beauty in our shores, and it belongs to one of us. I want to thank everyone who is part of it, especially Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), thank you.
“I want to thank Engr Greg because you have given hope to our seafarers. I thank you everybody here who have come to rejoice and celebrate with us. Thank you all”.
Mrs Hilda Ibifuro Harrison, AIG Zone 4 and Former Commissioner of Police, Ports Authority Police Command Western, (Sister to Engr Greg):
“I am very very happy and delighted that my brother, Engr Greg Ogbeifun started from somewhere, and is here today. I want to thank everyone who has supported him to this height. I think God Almighty, I thank my sister, the warrior of the house, Pastor Mrs Ogbeifun. We thank the great Ogbeifun family of Benin for training such a great son.
“Big brother, I want to say that even in your future endeavours, God shall be there for you, and you shall remain fulfilled even at your old age, even older than papa to enjoy the great friuts of your labour.
“And to everyone who is here to celebrate with us, God shall also be there to celebrate with you on the day of your celebration. And it shall be well with each and everyone of us. And to my Managing Director (Hadiza Bala Usman), special thanks to you for being there for us. God bless you all”.
Hadiza Bala Usman, Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority:
“I am particularly happy to be here today and have the pleasure to commission this newly acquired vessel, MV Osanyamo this afternoon. This event is another testament of the commitment of President Muhammadu Buhari administration to the improvement of Nigerian economy, not just by diversification, but by providing enabling environment for the private sector to invest more in the country.
“It is also gratifying to see the commitment of Starzs Marine Limited to the Nigerian content requirements of the federal government, to the extent that it can boast of having 100% competent Nigerian crew in their entire fleet of vessels. This is commendable.
“And indeed the ongoing cadetship training of the company is boosting the capacity development of Nigeria to take charge of its maritime sector, which is critical to in-house capacity of any maritime sector in the world. This further aligns with the determination of this administration to develop in-house capacity and permanently put Nigeria on the frontline of global maritime business.
“In addition to this, the introduction of MV Osanyamo, has added the in-country capacity for oil exploration and production in Nigeria. The vessel ASD Tug 5114 Model has a primary purpose to assist in tanker lifting alongside FPSOs in the Gulf of Guinea.
“As I congratulate Starzs Marine Ltd and Total E & P for this epoch venture, I want to restate the Commitment of NPA to you and indeed to the Nigerian maritime sector that together we can achieve much, and the world will be proud of Nigeria maritime development in the African continent “.