By Steve Agbota
The Association of Marine Engineers and Surveyors (AMES) has called on the Federal Government to order the N50 billion Floating Drydock acquired by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) in 2016 be deployed for immediate operations.
President of AMES, Yinka Okunade, who made the call while addressing newsmen at the “Mission To Seafarers House” in Apapa, Lagos, said the facility, which was built by the Damen Shipyards Gorinchem of Netherlands in 2016 and delivered to NIMASA in 2018, had been abandoned at the Naval Dockyard in Lagos, leaving it as a derelict.
He urged the Federal Government through the Minister of Transportation, to urgently order NIMASA to either immediately put the facility into operation or hand it over to a marine engineering organisation that specialises in ship drydock and repairs.
“The Floating Drydock, which was built to Lloyds Register’s Class has not been surveyed since its delivery to Nigeria over three years ago. The Class has been withdrawn and the floating dock is now seriously becoming derelict.
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, being a mobile facility that can be navigated to the location of a disabled vessel at sea. It has capacity to carry vessels and navigate back to base where a disabled vessel can then be repaired and restored back to service,” he added.
According to him, NIMASA’s acquisition of the Floating Drydock was no doubt a good decision based on a drive to develop the maritime industry infrastructure, which would support ship owners and ship operations in complying with statutory requirements to drydock their vessels, and generate employment.
However, he queried the choice of mooring the facility at the Naval Dockyard onVictoria Island, Lagos, where $30,000 is paid as daily berthing charges, rather than have it moored in a facility owned by the Nigerian Ports Authority(NPA), which is a sister agency.
“Why would NIMASA choose Naval Dockyard and not Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), a sister agency, which already has a dedicated berth for a floating drydock?
“In the opinion of AMES, the mooring of the floating dock (MFDP NIMASA) at the Naval Dockyard is an avoidable wastage in terms of not only humongous expenses but safety of the Floating Drydock itself, and the potential environmental pollution that may occur,” he noted.