N50 billion floating dock to commence operations in July
• NIMASA, NPA agree on shipwreck removal to ease navigation
Barring unforeseen circumstances, the N50 billion floating dry dock owned by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), will begin operations by next month.
NIMASA had on June 11, 2018, taken delivery of the floating dock, which it said would boost ship repair capacity, generate wealth, and create employment for Nigerians. But the facility had since been lying fallow at the Naval Dockyard in Lagos.
The Managing Director of, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Ms Hadiza Bala Usman, after a meeting with the management of NIMASA led by the Director-General, Bashir Jamoh, at the agency’s Headquarters in Lagos, said arrangements are in place to berth the floating dock permanently for it to commence operations in July.
Jamoh had earlier disclosed that NIMASA was working with NPA to berth the facility at the continental shipyard owned by the Authority, with estimates that the facility would generate about N1 billion monthly.
He said: “We are finalizing arrangements with the NPA to get a permanent berth for the floating Dockyard and by the end of July this facility should be operational. The interesting thing is that aside from earning a huge amount of revenue, it also has the capacity to employ over 300 Nigerian youths directly.”
The two bodies also concluded arrangements to make the Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure, otherwise called the Deep Blue Project, the central security structure for all anchorage areas in the Nigerian maritime domain, to reduce the cost of shipping of goods into Nigeria.
Usman disclosed that both agencies have also agreed to work out modalities for effective removal of all wrecks and derelicts that may hinder navigations in the Nigerian waters.
According to her, NIMASA and NPA are sister agencies and should be seen to be collaborating more for the growth of the maritime industry and the country generally.
She said: “We had a range of discussions bordering on the Secure Anchorage Area, which our supervising Ministry desires the Deep Blue Project to provide security for all anchorage areas in the country. Aside from saving the country a lot of money, it will ensure that the security of the Nigerian Maritime domain is given a focal attention.”
Bala Usman also disclosed that the two agencies agreed to interlink the C3i of the NPA and C4i of NIMASA to interchange information that would assist the Nigerian Navy’s response to security.
“We have the C3i Command, Control and Intelligence centre at NPA and NIMASA has the c4i while the Navy has a falcon eye. We need to interlink these facilities, and we believe that this would assist the country in response to maritime security threats,” she said.
However, Jamoh stressed the need to harmonize most of the working models amongst all maritime agencies to avoid duplication of duties, which also leads to more costs.
He said the Secure Anchorage Area, which has been a subject of debate amongst stakeholders would now be covered under the Deep Blue Project.
He added that “There is absolutely no need for us to have private security in our maritime space. You are aware that this increases the cost of Shipping in our country. By the time the Deep Blue Project becomes fully operational, the cost of shipping would drastically reduce.”