The Ship Owners Association of Nigeria (SOAN) has suggested acquisition of more tankers and dry cargo vessels through the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF) to create more jobs for youths.

Mr Greg Ogbeifun, President of SOAN, made the suggestion in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Wednesday.

He noted that it had become imperative to disburse the CVFF at a single digit interest rate to make provisions for purchase of more vessels.

The ship owner urged stakeholders to collaborate to achieve a common goal of growing the Nigerian maritime industry and to boost the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

According to him, if all critical stakeholders as well as government agencies collaborate, the maritime industry will grow faster.

Ogbeifun added that a proper management of the maritime industry would assist the Federal Government to encourage diversification from oil to non-oil revenue.

“The whole essence of Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund is to enable ship owners have access to the fund at a single digit interest rate.

“The political will from the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) had, however, been challenging.

“We ship owners must ensure that we are eligible to access the fund. We need to look at our processes and system to ensure they meet the requirements.

“We are making progress but we need the media to continue with the news that will enable every player in the shipping industry to do the right thing,’’ Ogbeifun said.

He said Nigerian ship owners must focus on owning ships now.

Ogbeifun said that Nigerian ship owners often chartered ships from London, saying that if they purchase tanker and dry cargo vessels, it would help create more jobs for youths.

He said that if Nigerian ship owners purchase vessels, it would enable indigenous shipping operators to charter vessels in Nigeria rather than from London.