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Marine Engineers raise alarm over gradual rot of  NIMASA’S N50b floating dock

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— appeal to Federal government to halt the colossal waste

 Segun Oladipupo      |     The Association of Marine Engineers and Surveyors (AMES), has expressed deep concerns over the gradual depreciation of the multi-billion naira floating dock owned by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) .

The N50 billion floating drydock, purchased by the agency in 2016, has since it came to Nigeria, been idling and rotting away at the Naval Dockyard in Lagos.
The association yesterday called on the Federal Government to intervene and compel the management of NIMASA to put the floating dock to use in order to stop the needless wastage.

Mr Adeyinka Okunade, the President of the association, in a media briefing in Lagos, lamented that due to the long years of disuse of the floating dock, it  is no longer in class and has no insurance cover.

He urged the federal government to direct the agency to either outsource the facility to professionals or put it into use.

He added that the facility, despite its non-utilisation, gulps millions of naira on daily basis as maintenance fees.

Okunade therefore urged the Federal Government, through the Minister of Transportation, to urgently direct NIMASA to put the facility into operation and that the drydock be moved from the Nigeria Navy dockyard in Victoria Island to NPA berth in Apapa to avoid incurring daily expenditure.

He noted that the association gave the advice because the facility is a national asset that should not be allowed to rot away.

He lamented that all efforts to reach the management of NIMASA for the advice proved abortive, hence the need to get the attention of the Federal government to the anomaly.

“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 three 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 three 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 beneficiaries.

“Also, the location of the drydock is not of importance, so far it adds value, it is of commercial viability,” he said.

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