Ogbeigun: Nigeria Has Done Enough to Merit IMO Council Seat

Managing Director/CEO of Starzs Marine and Engineering Limited, Mr Greg Ogbeifun

Eromosele Abiodun

The immediate past president of the Ship Owners Association of Nigeria (SOAN) and Managing Director/CEO of Starzs Marine and Engineering Limited, Greg Ogbeifun, believes Nigeria has done enough in the last two years to clinch the coveted Maritime Organisation (IMO) Council seat.

Nigeria had contested and previously lost the same election twice – in 2011, and 2018, and is currently preparing to go to the stage again this month, when the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), will be having its council meeting.

Category C comprises countries that have special interest in maritime transportation or navigation, and whose election to the IMO Council would ensure the representation of all major geographic areas of the world.

In a bid to brighten the country’s chances the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency(NIMASA), in Lagos, inaugurated the implementation monitoring committee for the Nigerian ship register

The election to Category “C” of the Council of IMO for the period 2020-2021, would be held during the 31stRegular Session of the IMO Assembly, from 25th November to 5th December 2019 in London, United Kingdom.

Meanwhile, the quest by Nigeria to clinch the IMO Council seat got a boost recently when world known classification society; including Lloyd’s Register, DNV GL, Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), accepted to join the Nigeria ship registry implementation committee.

Speaking with newsmen in Lagos, Ogbeifun said what the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and other government agencies have put in place in the past two years were enough to get Nigeria the seat.

According to him, “As far as I am concerned, Nigeria has done enough to merit more than category C. If you were at the World Maritime Day held in Lagos recently, you can tell from the measure riled out by various agencies at the event especially the Director General of NIMASA, Dr Dakuku Peterside. That culminated in the Global Maritime Security Conference held in Abuja recently. The IMO was there alongside other major players in the global terrain.

He added that the plan the IMO to monitor and control Green House Gas (GHG) emissions ships cannot apply to Nigeria yet as there were other avenues of environmental pollution locally that is yet to be addressed.

“It is part of the desire of the world to begin to pay attention to the environment as we are now talking about the blue economy which has a lot to do with the sea. Up till now, environmental issues have been limited principally to land. But now we are talking about the atmosphere. There are different emissions, you have those from your generators, cars and industries.

“While we are talking about the ships, we have cars and trucks emitting worse pollution into the atmosphere. As a nation, we cannot jump into IMO regulations without ensuring that jumping at that regulation will achieve the desired result. Alongside IMO, Nigeria should start by identifying our domestic activities that are contributing towards environmental pollution through emissions, “he said.
He added, “We are talking about the IMO who is looking at the global space, a space that incorporate nations that have since tidied up their own environment and now they want to transform the ship emission environment.

“Most of the things we do locally don’t average international standards in term of environmental control. If you at the IMO that is headquartered in London, they are already regulating their emission, there is no open defecation and pollution of their rivers.

“So it makes sense for them to begin to think of controlling the Sulphur content of the fuel that their ships are burning. However, controlling emissions is the right thing to do. But how do you achieve the vision, you have to start by looking at the content of the Sulphur in the fuel you are burning.

“So right from the fractional distillation process that is used to produce your AGO has to be tinkered with to control the Sulphur content in the fuel you are burning. Our worry should not be the IMO but the fundamentals locally. We must lay the foundation or else we are just playing to the gallery.”