Nigeria unfolds first vessel in December 2020
Akwa Ibom State-based shipyard, Norfin Offshore Shipyard Limited, has moved to position Nigeria as a major player in ship manufacturing, as its first locally-produced vessel is expected to be ready in December.
According to a report from the State House, the ship manufacturing and marine services company, owned by an indigene of Akwa Ibom State, Charles Udonwa, has boosted the Governor’s vision of exploring and harnessing the maritime sector.
Speaking at the new shipyard sited at Ikot Ukpong in Oruk Anam Local Government Area, Udonwa, whose company has been in Singapore producing and providing shipping services to several countries, including Nigeria, said his motivation is to support Governor Udom Emmanuel’s mission to create jobs, develop talents and skills and contribute to the growth of the state’s economy.
Udonwa, who received the Special Assistant to the State Governor on Research and Documentation, Essien Ndueso, and his team at the shipyard, said his vision is to make Nigeria become a major player in the chip manufacturing industry.
He said the ship production factory, which is still expanding, is expected to churn out made-in-Nigeria sea-going vessels for the country’s maritime sector and offshore operations as well as pleasure rides, adding that the first ship is currently under construction at the factory and expected to be ready in December this year.
He said: “I am here to help establish Nigeria as a shipbuilding country. We are here to create opportunities. As we speak, we have over 70 people earning salaries in this place. Nigeria has to establish itself as a shipbuilding country, and that’s what we are doing here.
“So far we have sunk $2 million on the ground, sand filling and stone filling this place. Before we finish here, about $20 million would have been spent developing this place.”
He said the stretch of road, Ikot Abasi – Port Harcourt Expressway was within the recently approved Liberty Free Trade Zone while commending Governor Emmanuel for his support to their operations.
“We are here to stay. Other multinational companies are also going to establish along the same stretch. But we need the government to help us subdue militancy so that development would come.
“It was Governor Udom Emmanuel who called me in Singapore to come and start the business in the state, before his call came, I had invitations from several other parts of Nigeria, but I chose my state,” Udonwa said.
Also speaking, the Operations Manager of the company, Ekpoafia Maxwell, explained that the shipyard hopes to create thousands of job opportunities in no distant time with the proposed building of six more ship factories at the present location.
Reacting, the Governor’s aide, Essien Ndueso, commended Udonwa for keying into the Governor’s completion agenda programmes, which he said encapsulates maritime development, rural development, and job creation.
He noted that the Shipyard and other industries, which are about to spring up in the 50,000 hectares Liberty Free Trade Zone would open up sustainable business opportunities in Akwa Ibom, and urged the host communities to give the investors the necessary cooperation and support.