The year 2022 has come and gone, leaving in its wake a plethora of deaths in the Nigerian maritime industry.
Five prominent people linked to the industry that died in 2022 were Rotimi Fashakin, Omoyeni Jolapamo-Olalekan, Ngozi Obikili, Otunba Kunle Folarin and Juliana Abiodun Gunwa.
Rotimi Fashakin died on September 24, 2022. He was the immediate past Executive Director Operations at the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).
Fashakin, who served as NIMASA’s Executive Director from 2016 to March 2020, died in the United Kingdom at the age of 59 after a prolonged battle with an undisclosed ailment.
He was survived by his widow, Busola Fashakin and three children.
According to family sources, Fashakin was, until his death, studying Law at the University of Buckingham, and was billed to graduate in December 2022.
Another death linked to the maritime industry in 2022 was that of the daughter of the founding President of the Nigerian Shipowners Association (NISA), Chief Isaac Jolapamo.
Omoyeni Jolapamo-Olalekan, aged 47, was said to have died suddenly without any prior ailment, at the Stoke Mandeville Hospital, UK on September 23, 2022.
She was said to have been hale and hearty until a few days to her death when she slumped and was rushed to the hospital in an ambulance.
The deceased was survived by her father, husband, three daughters and many siblings.
The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) also suffered a major loss in 2022 with the death of its General Manager, Corporate and General Planning, Ngozi Obikili.
“The Authority regrets to announce the sudden demise on 12th October 2022 of Mrs Ngozi Obikili who until her death was General Manager, Corporate & Strategic Planning Division.
“Her contributions remain an indelible reference point in the annals of the Authority and her global trade facilitation efforts,” NPA stated on its twitter handle.
One death that shook the industry was that of Otunba Kunle Folarin who died at the age of 81.
Until his death on November 8, 2022, Otunba Folarin was the Chairman of the Nigerian Ports Consultative Council (NPCC) and Chairman of the National Seafarers Welfare Board (NSWB).
“I am truly saddened by the death of this great man. Otunba Kunle Folarin’s exit at this time will create a great vacuum in the maritime community.
“He was an accomplished maritime expert and administrator, and a repository of maritime knowledge. His death will be felt far beyond the maritime industry,” the Chairman, Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN), Princess Vicky Haastrup said while commiserating with Folarin’s family.
Many other maritime industry operators and stakeholders expressed similar sentiments about the late Folarin’s contribution to the maritime industry, describing his demise as a “sad loss” to the industry.
“Otunba Folarin was steadfast in his service to the maritime industry having served in one of the most senior management positions in Alraine Shipping. He later devoted his life to the wellbeing of seafarers through his selfless and unparalleled service as Chairman of the National Seafarers Welfare Board (NSWB) and also as Chairman of the Nigerian Ports Consultative Council (NPCC). The role he played in the maritime industry will remain indelible for many generations to come,” Haastrup said, even as she prayed that God Almighty grants his soul eternal rest.
The late maritime icon will be buried on January 27, 2023 in Lagos.
Another shocking death in the maritime industry in 2022 was that of a former Director of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Mrs Juliana Abiodun Gunwa.
Gunwa, who served as the Director of Marine Environment Management (MEM) and Director Maritime Labour and Cabotage Services of NIMASA before her retirement in 2018, died on December 13 at the age of 64.
Her brother, Mr. Tayo Fadile, who confirmed her death exclusively to SHIPS & PORTS, said she passed away in UK after a prolonged illness.
The late Mrs Gunwa started her working career AT the Federal Ministry of Transport before transferring service to NIMASA in 2002.
The deceased obtained a first degree in humanities from the University of Ibadan. She also had an M.Sc in Marine Management from the Dalhousie University Haliface, Canada and another M.Sc in General Maritime Administration from the World Maritime University, Malmo, Sweden.
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