Shipowners Association of Nigeria, SOAN, has said that the federal government’s appeal for unity among all fragments of ship owners in the country was a good counsel that promotes cohesion, engender growth and development of the industry.
Minister of Transport, Mr. Rotimi Ameachi, had on assumption of duty asked the various ship owners to come together in order to speak with one voice for the general good of the industry, which led to the formation of the Shipowners Forum.
President of the association, Mr. Greg Obeifun, who spoke against the background of some side comments trailing the Minister’s counsel asking the various ship owners not ship owning associations to come together, said that the move was also informed by what some stakeholders told the Minister.
According to him, there is nothing wrong for the various ship owners in the country to come under one umbrella so as to speak with one voice on matters of common interest and by so doing engender the growth and development of the industry.
The president, who also admitted that there have been calls in the past for the ship owners to come together, but regretted that such calls were not heeded by the concerned stakeholders, which had kept them fragmented.
He however noted that those who are making issues out of the emergence of the new group are merely being mischievous, insisting that the concept of the new forum, which stakeholders like the acting President of the Nigerian Shipowners Association NISA, Alhaji Aminu Umar, himself, Chief Isaac Jolapamo, Mr. Temi Omatseye, president of the African Shipowners Association and Mrs. Margaret Oraekwusi, who emerged chairman of the new forum played prominent roles.
“The press statement issued after the inaugural meeting of the forum was clear and unambiguous because it stated that membership is open to true ship owners duly registered with the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency NIMASA, whether they are in SOAN, NISA or neither in any of the above associations provided they own ships and have a track record of running them”, the president said.
Ogbeifun, who is the CEO of Starz Group, which engages in shipping line and ship repair yard operations, insisted that the forum was only for ship owning members and argued that it was unacceptable for non ship owners to discuss and decide the fate of ship owners.
“Is it possible for non-lawyers to be members of the Nigerian Bar Association NBA or members of the Nigerian Medical Association NMA to sit in the association with people who are not medical doctors, it is not possible and such can also not be allowed among ship owners”, he insisted.

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