NPA strengthens shipping operations with $30m tugboats
Huge vessels coming to Nigeria can now sail through the Lagos channels smoothly as the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has acquired and commissioned four new tugboats estimated at $30 million.
Tugboats are small but powerful ships used to pull or push other larger ships for easy voyage from channels or restricted areas into the sea.
The Managing Director of NPA, Hadiza Bala Usman, who commissioned the tugboats in Apapa yesterday, said the facilities are the solution to the challenge of inadequate tugboats, especially in the Lagos area.
Usman said the tugboats are fitted with the latest technology in world with 60 tons Bollard Pull capacity each and can handle vessels of 200 meters and above.
The vessels are multipurpose equipment with fire fighting facility and two 3,680 kilowatts service engines. The boats are: MT Daura, MT Ubima, MT Uromi and MT Majiya.
The tugboats are coming at a time the country was expecting one of the biggest Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessel in the world and another Giant Maersk Shipping Line 250 meters long vessel, which has already commenced its journey to Lagos.
She said: “The authority is fulfilling this obligation through its joint venture channel management company that carries out capital maintenance dredging of the channels. This partnership has significantly improved our channels.
“The Lagos channel is up to 13.5 meters deep and more that 100 critical shipwrecks have been removed from the channel through the partnership.
“As a result of this, our ports have started receiving larger vessels of 232.3 meters vessel that carries up to 3500 twenty-foot equivalent units (teu) and these vessels require approximately 11.5 meters depth. In addition, Maersk’s 250 meter long vessel requiring 13.5 meter draft has commenced its call to Lagos port already.’’
“It is important to know that the improvement of the channels alone does not completely ensure safety of navigation, deployment of appropriate marine craft such as tug boats and pilot quarters also play a very important role.”
The Chairman, Board of Director, NPA, Olajide Adesanoye said the four new tugboats would make it nine in NPA’s fleet.