Barring any last minute change, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) will hand over its newly acquired floating dock to the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).
According to an insider who is in the know, the immediate past administration has concluded plans to handover the floating dock for NPA to manage.
He said, “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.”
Recall that the floating dock 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 capital flight as a result of dry docking vessels abroad.
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.
And 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.
But, 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 will 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.
Editing by ‘Biodun Soyele
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