Fregene Omatseye George, Chief Executive Officer of Burston Marine and Security Services Limited, which produces barges and other watercraft for security institutions talked with Godwin Oritse on the dispute facing this sector of the maritime industry Experts.
Can you tell us what motivated you to this marine business?
He said, ‘My parents are from South, North, and Southwest LGA, so I will say I was born into the marine world. Then, my late dad Prince Benjamin Fregene, stopped working in the maritime sector and noticed that most of these materials could be constructed in Nigeria, so he began the initiative which his children including me normally join him after school. From there, I built my own BURSTON MARINE and SECURITY SERVICES LIMITED where we constructed vessels, tug boats, barges, lay barges, multicast, and self-propelled, patrol boats in steel and aluminum.
How do you get your raw materials?
Our raw materials are obtained from (plate sheets, H beams, Angle iron, Electrodes, gearboxes, propellers, and furniture materials) from importers in Nigeria. We’re expecting our steel companies to be working because I know the only ones that are not imported into our company are propane and oxygen.
How do the participants in the maritime industry see and how they have agreed to this initiative being fully aware of how demented Nigerians are about imported goods?
Participants in the maritime industry have adapted and fully welcomed our local built materials in all aspects of the industry and we must applaud them to Nimasa for their contribution and carrying out strict conformity from us the local constructors and the local and foreign companies.
Do you assist only participants in Nigeria or do you have clients outside the country by exporting your services?
They offer services to international companies working here in Nigeria but we expect to export our services and purchase buildings for foreigners to buy overseas for themselves.
Has the current situation of inflation and devaluation of Naira affected your business in any way?
Inflation and devaluation of the Naira are the hardest challenges we are facing in the company now because as it is now, prices have increased twice in the past four months and is bringing serious problem to us and regret, in addition to bad roads in the country.
What part does Nimasa play in your business?
The Nimasa is taking part in a major function in our business in different aspects
- The registration, scrutinization, and certification of our materials have been ameliorated over the years. They refined a lot also on the tracking system of our materials which if positioned on your vessel, you can see the material through your phone and the presentation of the compulsory MMSI number, Call Signs, AIS, and other communication gadgets has been a great help to secure our waterways but we also expect for us to acquire our International Maritime Organization (IMO) numbers on our locally manufactured materials.
Can you tell us the number of watercraft you produce yearly?
We produced a minimum of 10 materials on our own yearly for hiring and full purchases to keep the company running and active. When clients demand that we should build for them, we do that in addition to our production.
Can your products compete internationally?
Yes, it can. By the way, we expect to compete internationally that’s why we’re in this business, and we want to go internationally so the world will know we can improve here in Nigeria, and we can export our products in Africa. But before that, we have to start manufacturing most of the materials like the plates, high beams, Angle irons, electrodes even engines, and gearboxes locally here in Nigeria and with the help of natural resources, we have. This will increase employment in all aspects making more available of job opportunities available and helping build up our country