The Starzs Group bid to expand its shipyard has attracted a promise for funding the initial design and feasibility, courtesy of the United States Trade Agency.
The Chief Executive Officer of Starzs Group, Greg Ogbeifun, said in a statement that the United States Trade Agency got interested in the project on his company’s presentation of its viability, which will see the shipyard running bigger operations on completion.
Ogbeifun is therefore hopeful for a more robust shipyard sector with support from the likes of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB).
“I make bold to say that courtesy of the United States Trade Agency, they have promised to fund the initial design and feasibility of this project. So, as foreign parties are talking about this, I will expect that the NIMASAs of this world, the NCDMB would come on board this project as well, ”Ogbeifun said.
The shipping mogul disclosed that since the company’s 19 years of business, it had so far docked 980 vessels, working for shipowners; local and international, with patrons including the Nigerian Navy, the Nigerian Ports Authority and NIMASA.
As the shipyard prepares for its expansion, Ogbeifun is excited that being able to survive a tough business environment, a larger part of society would also benefit from the project.
“Our expansion programme is to take the shipyard from a 500 ton lifting capacity to a 7500 ton lifting capacity. We have the plan, not only to lift up to that capacity for repairs, but we incorporated shipbuilding capability in the plan. We also incorporated a berth for ship-breaking, all comprehensive,”Ogbeifun said.
He said the shipyard expansion targets 1000 direct workers, adding that he felt a sense of satisfaction contributing in almost 20 years, to the cadetship Students Industrial Work Experience Scheme (SIWES) opportunity for those learning shipbuilding at the Maritime Academy, and marine engineers.