President, Association of Marine Engineers and Surveyors (AMES), Mr Adeyinka Okunade, has
urged the Federal Government, through the Minister of Transportation, to urgently direct NIMASA to put its drydock facility into operation.
Speaking at an interactive session with Journalist, he said if the earlier suggestions were not feasible, the facility could be handed over to a maritime engineering company that specialises in ship drydock for its repairs and management.
According to him, “a floating drydock is one out of five types of drydocks used for ship repairs. It is a submersible platform that is specifically designed and used to repair vessels.
“It is a mobile facility that could be navigated to the location of a disabled vessel at sea, carry the vessel, and navigate back to base, where the disabled vessel can then be repaired and restored back to service.
“Our attention has been drawn to the non-utilisation of the floating drydock that was delivered in 2018 to NIMASA, which is now laid up and wasting away at the Naval Dockyard in Lagos.
“The floating drydock is a Modular type constructed by Damen Shipyard Gorinchem, of Netherlands, in 2016.
“It was built by Lloyd’s Register’s Class and has not been surveyed since its delivery to Nigeria 3 years ago. The class has been withdrawn and the floating dock is now seriously becoming derelict.
“There is need for NIMASA and the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) which are maritime agencies of the same ministry, to synergise and commission the MFDP-NIMASA into operation immediately, “he said.
Okunade called on NIMASA to take advantage of a fit-for-purpose berth and backup yard of the NPA, to put the drydock in good use.
The AMES president noted that the acquisition of a floating drydock was a sound decision by NIMASA, based on the drive to develop the maritime industry infrastructure.
According to him, this would solve the perennial dilemma faced by indigenous shipowners and ship operators, in complying with the statutory requirement to drydock vessels and also generate employment in the industry.
He said that the current condition of the floating dock, since the past 3 years, was that it was moored at the Naval Dockyard, Commodore Pool, Victoria Island, Lagos, rusting away as a result of the treacherous sea-like weather condition at the berth.
Okunade referred to a publication of April 3, 2019, which disclosed that the drydock cost N50 billion to acquire, over N3.6 million daily expenses and US30,000 dollar per day berthing charges to the Nigerian Navy.
He said that NIMASA should have chosen the NPA dockyard which already has a dedicated berth for a floating dockyard.
According to him, the mooring of the floating dock at the Naval Dockyard was an avoidable wastage, in terms of the enormous expenses, safety of the floating Dockyards itself, and the potential environmental pollution that may occur.
“Our mission today is not to criticise but suggest a way forward. We have made a couple of attempts to see the NIMASA Director- General, but for one reason or the other, we have not been able to meet with him.
“When the floating drydock is in use, the benefits will be unlimited, with the primary shipowners becoming beneficiary.
“Also, the location of the drydock is not of importance, so far it adds value, it is of commercial viability”.