There are indications that the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) will hand over its newly acquired floating dock to the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).
The floating dock acquired at a whopping N50 billion has remained idle since it arrived the country on June 11, 2018.
The project was aimed at ensuring that ships of various sizes calling at the ports are able to repair their vessels and thus help save the country from the capital flight as a result of dry docking vessels abroad. An insider who is in the know told Daily Sun that the immediate past administration has concluded plans to handover the floating dock for NPA to manage.
He hinted, “you know NPA has a ship repair yard and the depth of the ship repair yard will take the depth of the floating dock and because of that, the management has decided to hand over to NPA to manage so that it will stop wasting away.”
Investigation revealed that it was estimated that Nigeria loses about N180 billion yearly to neighbouring countries due to lack of ship repair yards, hence it was seen as a laudable project.
According to the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), every vessel must undergo dry-docking once every three years to retain their safety classification and insurance cover. It costs between $300,000 and $500,000 to dry-dock a vessel, going by the prevailing international rates.
However, NIMASA has said the agency’s multi-million dollar floating dockyard will save the country about N36 billion in capital flight yearly once it commenced operation.
Besides, the investment in the facility, it was noted that the floating dock would create an enabling environment for the growth of indigenous participation in shipping, such that when fully operational, Nigerian ship owners and their foreign counterparts would no longer need to take their vessels outside the country for dry docking.
Besides, the floating dockyard is also to serve as a training facility for the students of the Nigerian Maritime University, Okerenkoko, Delta State and other maritime institutions in the country.
Recently, the House Committee on Maritime Safety, Education and Administration expressed dissatisfaction over the floating dock for been idle for years and ordered NIMASA to put into use the N50 billion floating dock acquired by the agency in order to generate revenue for the government.
House Committee Chairman, Maritime Safety, Education and Administration, Linda Ikpeazu, said the floating dock had the potential to grow government revenue and urged NIMASA to expedite action and put the facility into use.
Ikpeazu also urged NIMASA to ensure that the Command Control Communication Intelligence (C4I) is integrated with other maritime agencies platforms to ensure maximum security of the nation’s waterways, adding that it is important that the platform is independent of external interference.
“We have seen the floating dock, that is a very big project, it has been completed, but has not been put into use. You have to do what needs to be done to make sure that it is moved to a permanent site so it has to put into work. Obviously, where it is now, it can’t work. The floating dock needs a place where the water is deeper, and of course, the area has to be prepared for it to operate. The floating dock is a very big project that is going to bring a lot of revenue into the country. NIMASA is one of the revenue generating agencies in the country. So it is of interest to us that it generates revenue,” she said.