By Godwin Oritse
A special documentary has been produced and premiered in honour of visionary and pioneer Managing Director of Global West Vessel Specialists Limited (GWVSL), Late Captain Romeo Itima by United States of America (USA) based producer, film-maker, Mr. Kevin Itima, his son.
The documentary titled “The Price of a Dream”, which was premiered at the Funplex Event Centre, Lagos on Thursday tells the story of Captain Romeo Itima, a man who sacrificed his life in his effort to contribute towards the security and social-economic development of Nigeria and especially the Niger-Delta region, using his competence as the first ever West African Captain in the Gulf of Mexico.
In 2006, Late Romeo decided that he wanted to use his over 30 years of international maritime knowledge to create opportunities for his country and community. He established GWVSL, a privatized maritime security company in 2009 to combat piracy and other associated crimes plaguing Nigeria’s waterways in the fashion of the duties of the United States Coast Guards to serve as a coast guard company, partnering with Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to police the Nigerian waterways.
Sadly, the love Captain Romeo had for his people along with the vision of a safer Nigeria that he attempted to realize for his country sealed his fate.
He was killed at Escravos, Delta state on the 7th of August, 2012 by pirates.
While addressing journalists shortly after the unveiling, the Executive Producer and son of Late Captain Romeo Itima, Kevin Itima said, the documentary was produced with the purpose of honoring the memory of his father and the huge sacrifice he made towards the development of the country especially the Niger-Delta region.
According to him, “Late Romeo Itima migrated to the United States, found a career within the merchant marine industry and became one of the first, few African captains.
Although accomplished, Captain Romeo sought for more. He traveled back to Nigeria with the incredible amount of knowledge he had gained from his experiences and created Global West Vessel Specialists Limited (GWVSL) in 2009”
“To him, establishing the company was his way of contributing to salvaging Nigeria’s maritime security domain, using his wealth of experience as a master mariner from the United States”
According to Kevin, the documentary dwells extensively on the live and times of Late Captain Romeo Itima, what sparked his drive to create GWVSL, how and why the company was created, details on his death and the aftermath as well as the present standing of the company.
Kevin said many challenges were encountered in the course of producing the documentary which included logistics, limited time and resources, unfavorable weather condition and difficulty in getting needed information.
According to him: “logistics was a major problem for us in Nigeria; finding appropriate places to shoot from. For example, in Apongbon market, Lagos, we were harassed and stopped from filming, so we had to pay the shop owner of a four-level building to be able to shoot the main scene in the market from his roof”.
“The short amount of time we had to spend in Nigeria was also a major challenge. My director and director of photography only had about two weeks to stay in Nigeria and dealing with Lagos traffic limited the number of places we could visit and shoot”.
“Filming on the river in Escravos was also very difficult. The waves made it hard to steady the camera and film landscape. “
“The biggest challenge however was getting information about my father’s company. It seemed that the upper management did not really want to be part of the film. So, getting figures and facts was a problem. I could only get certain information off the record and off camera.” He said