By Stephen Ubanna
More facts have emerged why the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission, ICRC, under the close watch of Michael Ohiani, hasfinally settled for Melsmore Marine Nigeria Limited, a Port Harcourt based company to operate and maintain Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, N50 billion money guzzler modular floating dock which had been idle over the last four years since arriving the country from Damen shipyard, Netherland.
The goal post for the operation of the floating dock has been shifted several times between 201 and ow because of the inability of the Bashir Jamoh, OFR, controlled maritime regulatory agency to get a suitable sit to berth the facility in readiness for deployment for operation.
Jahmoh, the NIMASA, Director General could heave a sigh of relief that at long last the agency and the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, had reached a compromise to leave Continental shipyard Limited facility located at Apapa, the nation’s commercial nerve centre to it for the operation of the floating dock.
This is may have informed why ICRC moved fast to get a technical partner ‘’to operate, maintain and transfer back the floating dockyard to NIMASA after an initial period of 15 years. Melsmore Marine may have won the concession to operate the facility because it was said to have been recommended by NPA, Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas company, NLNG, Mobil and Total, which at one time or the other had patronised their services in the past and it has delivered. The news making the rounds last January was that the ICRC had concessioned the N50 billion, NIMASA floating dock operation to J. Marine Logistics Limited.
As a prelude to putting the floating dockyard into operation, the Leadership of NIMASA, recently handed over the leased site at the Continental Shipyard Limited, CSL, of NPA, to the technical partners, Melsome Marine. Osagie Edward, an Assistant Director and NIMASA, spokesperson disclosed that the technical partners are ‘’to liaise with the Management of NPA, in finalising the site management’’., which include risk assessment in preparation to move the floating dockyard to the CSL, premises for the commencement of full operations.
The NIMASA, spokesperson confirmed that the maritime regulatory agency and the technical partners have agreed to invite the manufacturers of the multi-billionaire modular floating dockyard, Damen Shipyard, believed to be a private family -owned company, based in Gorinchem, Netherland, to join in the commissioning of the dock, while site preparations are ongoing. He noted that ‘’this is to ensure that floating dock is deployed for operations in the shortest possible time’’.
Addressing Danny Fuchs, the Managing Director of Melsmore and other officials of the company, including Givol Yaron, the Chief Engineer, Jamoh, the NIMASA, Director General was said to have emphaisised the need for them to review the action plan in the management and operation of the deliverables , and key performance indicators with clearly stated guidelines .
An appreciative Fuchs, the Melsmore Chief Executive Officer , CEO, who could not hie his feelings had thanked the management of NIMASA, for the opportunity to work on such an important project and gave the assurance that the company ‘’is fully prepared to handle the movement of the floating dock from the naval dockyard, Victoria Island to the CSL, premises.
Mohammed Bello-Koko, controlled NPA, had recently lease d designated areas at the CSL for use of the floating dock. The areas at the CSL, leased to NIMASA for the operations of the modular floating dock include the dolphin jetty, waterfront of the jetty adjoining he slipway , and an Administrative block.Other areas at the NPA owned Continental shipyard at Apapa, Lagos, the nation’s commercial nerve centre include a construction, wielding and mechanical workshops.
Until ICRC, settles for Melsmore Marine to manage and operate the NIMASA floating dock, the dock was said to have costs the agency between N3.6 million and N5 million in daily maintenance expenses and additional $30,000 daily as berthing fees to the Nigerian Navy Holdings Limited , according to the Association of Marine Engineers and Surveyors , MES. All that has become history with the take over of the project by Melsmore Marine.
The project which is expected to be run on a Public Private Partnership, PP, arrangement, is expected to generate $65.6 million, about N27. Billion, into the coffers of NIMASA, although NIMASA, had Projected to generate N12 billion per annum on the average of N1 billon monthly revenue generation depending on the volume of jobs handled by the company.
Shipowners had said that it costs between $1.5 million and $1.8 million to tow a vessel to Asia countries like Singapore for repair while it costs between $300,000 and $500,000 to dry-dock a vessel in the international market. It is not surprising why they are very happy for that arrangement has been concluded by NIMASA, for the deployment of the modular floating dock into operations any time soon.
Many believe that it has the potentials to boost maritime trade, create over 800 direct and indirect jobs. Beyond revenue generation within the period it will be managed by the technical partners for the government through the agency, the ICRC, top official was said to have disclosed that that the floating dockyard is also expected to provide training avenues to various maritime training institutions in Nigeria and other African countries, while also attracting foreign investment and preventing capital flight . It is expected that with the planned deployment of the floating dock into operations Nigeria will be saving about N300 million in losses to capital flight con the early basis. More so, it is expected to provide maintenance facilities for ship and boats, which is a big boost to the economy.