africa

Putting NIMASA’s floating dock into use


Stakeholders in the maritime industry have called on the management of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to put its multi-billion naira floating dock into use to generate more revenue for the country, OLUWAKEMI DAUDA reports

 

CONCERNED by happenings in the maritime sector, stakeholders have urged the Director-General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Bashir Jamoh and his management team to put the agency’s multi-billion naira floating dock still in limbo into use.

The floating dock, acquired by NIMASA in 2018, is expected to generate N1billion monthly or N12 billion yearly by the time NIMASA starts to engage it optimally.

The floating dock was acquired by the agency as part of its efforts to reposition the industry to international standard, generate employment and boost government revenue

Before NIMASA acquired the floating dock, Nigeria had no viable dry dock facility to engage thousands of vessels calling at the nation’s seaports and those engaged in the provision of logistic services in the oil and gas industry,

Up till the end of last year, stakeholders said, many vessels were patronising the docks in Ghana and Cameroun.

All that, stakeholders said, must change this year, as NIMASA has been urged to deploy its floating dock and watch out for the pitfalls that forced the collapse of a similar venture by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).

Benefits of a floating dock

It is a venture that will broaden the nation’s revenue base when vessels operating in the country stop dry docking outside the country and NIMASA ensures that proper care of facilities is available. This practice, experts say, has huge implications in terms of foreign exchange costs running into several millions of dollars yearly.

Findings have shown that vessel owners who had hitherto been going abroad for dry docking would conveniently do same in-country. It is envisaged that the country stands to reap over $160 million spent yearly on dry docking and repairs of over 500 vessels of various specifications and sizes operating in Nigerian waters being done in neighbouring Ghana and Cameroon.

READ  Nigeria: CSOs Reject Controversial Infectious Diseases Bill

Cost of dry docking

According to stipulations by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), every vessel undergoes 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. Investigation have shown that on the average, 5,000 ships, 400 active coastal vessels and several hundred fishing trawlers call at the ports yearly. This factor alone ensures a steady rise in the demand for ship repairs and maintenance facilities in the country.

A binding obligation

Since it is a binding obligation for owners to keep their ships in shape, according to the IMO MARPOL and Safety Of Life At Sea treaty (SOLAS) Conventions, the most important of international treaties on the safety of merchant ships, vessels require an inspection of the underwater hull twice within five years, apart from the Class and Statutory Annual Hull and Machinery Surveys. One of these hull inspections is performed no later than three years from the day a vessel is launched, or from the previous dry docking project. For vessels that are less than 15 years old, an ‘in-Water Survey in Lieu of docking’ usually takes place.

The second hull inspection is done via a dry docking survey within the ‘Special Survey’ time frame, which is undertaken every five years, and commences 15 months prior to the expiration date of the vessel’s statutory trading certificates. The dry docking survey is part of the more extensive dry docking and repairs project, whereby the vessel enters a ‘floating’ or ‘graving’ dock in the shipyard so all parts which are normally under water can be more thoroughly examined, including not only the hull but also the propeller, rudder and sea chests.

READ  Mrs Buhari reveals plan to establish cancer centres

The dry docking project is one of the most challenging assignments a technical superintendent engineer is accountable for, making sure the vessel is maintained so that she can fulfill her commercial missions safely and efficiently.

“The dry docking is the most demanding challenge during the vessel’s five-year cycle. It certainly is a regulatory commitment, but more importantly it is the opportunity we have to address the wear a vessel accumulates while she is in operation, and to get her back in shape.”

  Mutual agreement

The ideal timing of the dry docking project should be decided upon with the mutual agreement of the commercial team responsible for chartering the vessel and the technical team responsible for maintaining her. “In determining the most appropriate time to schedule the dry docking, it is important to bear in mind that we would not want to miss a particularly attractive period in the spot chartering market because the ship is in dry dock. However, on the other hand, we must meet our maintenance and upgrading obligations within the required timeframe.

The need for communication and coordination in a dry docking project extends to its execution. The dry docking is an orchestrated effort involving multiple stakeholders including not only the ship manager but also the vessel’s classification society, her flag state, the shipyard, repair teams, various subcontractors, specialists and consultants. All of these parties must work together to ensure the vessel’s condition meets regulatory requirements, including retrofit requirements. During dry dockings, work that will enhance the vessel’s commercial attractiveness and performance may also be undertaken

Managing the time and costs

A dry docking project may last from 10 days to several weeks, depending upon the maintenance and upgrades to be performed. For example, ballast water tank treatment works are very time consuming and can significantly prolong the duration of the survey. Managing the time and costs associated with a dry docking project is one of the other challenges, as both of these factors must be considered in relation to the final quality of the end result.

READ  Nigeria: West African Examinations Council Clears Buhari, Issues Attestation Certificate

The agency’s modular floating dockyard said to be the fifth largest in Africa would enable Nigerian ship owners dry dock in-country, thereby saving over $100 million yearly for the national economy.

Speaking with reporters in Lagos last year, Jamoh reiterated that the high-profile equipment would generate N1 billion monthly by the time it started operation.

The NIMASA boss said he was impressed by the projects the agency had facilitated in recent times, adding that the Floating Dock acquired by NIMASA remained a viable project that would generate lots of jobs and revenue for the country.

NIMASA, Jamoh said, was partnering the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to get a permanent place for the platform, adding that when it is fully operational, it would amount to a very huge revenue earner for Nigeria, “because a lot of vessels would be able to dry-dock in the country”.

He added that NIMASA was working with the Navy, Police, the Army, Department of State Services (DSS) and other relevant agencies to stem the cycle of criminalities in the maritime domain.

According to him, NIMASA has also acquired some vessels and other sophisticated equipment that would be a game changer in the fight against piracy and other maritime crimes on the waters, as criminals could be easily reached and stopped.

He said there would be rigorous training for NIMASA staff, who would man the platform, before going into full operation.

Meanwhile, sources at the agency said the floating dockyard is yet to start operation.

 



READ SOURCE

Leave a Reply

This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies.  Learn more