The maiden edition of Maritime and Offshore Award (The OMIS) which was luxuriantly celebrated on Saturday, has been described by stakeholders as the Maritime Oscar Award in Africa.
It was a night glitz and glamour at the prestigious Oriental Hotel in Lagos at the weekend, as the bigwigs in the nation’s maritime sector gathered to celebrate excellence, greatness and lifetime contributions to the industry.
Speaking at the event, the Chairman of OMIS Governing Board and Principal Counsel, Jean-Chiazor and Partners, Mrs. Jean-Chiazor Anishere (SAN), said; “The OMIS is more than just an award. It’s an inspirational catalyst organized by HSE Nations International. The OMIS award is set to become the leading global brand for the recognition and celebration of excellence in the Maritime Sector; hence our quest to harness the power of leverage to aid value in this critical sector of the economy, whilst improving lives and further reinforcing the aim of your organizations to promote safe, secure, environmentally sound, efficient and sustainable shipping.”
While describing the award as the Maritime Oscars for Africa, she noted that the judges were carefully nominated just as the deserving awardees were nominated by stakeholders and industry stalwarts.
“I heartily congratulate our sterling awardees and seize this opportunity to thank our distinguished judges for all the hard work and sleepless nights spent in ensuring a careful study of the huge shortlisted entries, to determine deserving awardees. I also wish to specially thank the indefatigable C.E.O of OMIS, Mr. Femi Da-Silva for birthing this beautiful initiative and seeing it through! Well-done Femi! It is time to celebrate professionalism and excellence in our maritime and off shore space,” she said.
Meanwhile, the Chairman Integrated Oil and Gas Ltd., Capt. Emmanuel Ihenacho, stated at the event that Nigeria needs to become a producer of maritime services rather than remain a consumer.
“If we don’t have our own vessels, then outsiders can come in and say that the much they know about Nigerian trade is piracy. This opens us to exploitation. We should look at measures to ensure that all of the things we are missing are in place, and this will help us become producers rather than consumers of maritime services,” he said.
Ihenacho, who received the OMIS Lifetime Achievement award added that Nigeria could not continue to be a nation that consumed services produced elsewhere.
“We should have people at the policy level that should be thinking about these strategies and tell us how to go about it, marshal all these resources so that we will equalize the consumption with production. On the consumption side, yes we are using maritime services to the fullest but we should be able to add value to economy output by being able to produce maritime services,” he said.
Also speaking, the Vice Chairman of ENL Consortium and Chairperson of the Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN) Princess Vicky Haastrup commended the OMIS Awards, saying that it is an encouragement to contribute more towards the maritime industry.
Princess Haastrup was awarded as the the “Most Outstanding Woman of the Year 2022”
Her words: “It gives me encouragement to want to do better, it shows that my efforts are recognized for contributing to the maritime industry. As a person in the maritime industry, God has sent me to make a mark, and for being recognized today as the most outstanding woman of the year, it gives me great joy. I would call it an encouragement to do better than I am doing.”
A former Director General, Nigerian Chamber of Shipping (NCS), Dr. Ify Akerele observed that the Nigerian maritime sector was not where it should be but was making progress.
She described the award as a high class selective award, separating the boys from the men and the chaff from the wheat.
“I am one of the judges and I saw the criteria, it was tough. A lot of people pride themselves as maritime operators but they really don’t meet the criteria. But looking at the nominees, I will tell you that we have come a long way,” she said.
Earlier, Mr. Femi Da-Silva, Coordinator of OMIS, said all winners deserved their awards as the most qualified entries were picked based on set criteria.
A delighted Da-silva stated that the inaugural edition of the OMIS award shows that the maritime industry appreciates excellence, adding that the 2023 edition would be much bigger.
“This is an introductory edition, next year is going to be better, bigger than this, and it is going to be Nigeria to the world” he said.