By Stephen Ubanna
Between 2018, and now, Dakuku Peterside , a former Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA and Bashir Jamoh, his successor had made promises at different times that the N50 billion modular floating dock which was procured from Damen Shipyard,Netherland, Europe, would be deployed for operations because of the huge financial gain to the country. The duo had said that the dock would generate N1 billion monthly from ship repairs and other ancillary services that would be provided for the shipping Community.
The first of such promises or the deployment of the floating dock , described as the largest in Africa, was said to have been made in July 2018, by Peterside , the Oil –rich Rivers state born politician and a one –time member of the House of Representatives, on arrival of the vessel in June 11, 2018, to the country but . It remained an unfulfilled promise, until he had completed his first term in officeon March 10, 2020, which was not renewed by President Muhammadu Buhari, a retired army General.
Replaced by Jamoh, a chip of the old block, who had been involved in taking decisions concerning the floating dock in a private dock in Marina, and the Naval dockyard, Victoria Island , Lagos, may have seen the opening at the Nigerian Ports Authority , NPA, Continental shipyard to keep the dock it as an for its operations that he had shown interest to take it over
As a prelude to taking over the NPA, Continental shipyard at Apapa, Jamoh was said to have visited Hajia Hadiza Bala Usman, led NPA, for discussions last year for the deal. The Value News learnt that between June 11, 2018 and when the floating dock was finally taken to the Naval dockyard , Victoria Island , Lagos, , the Contractor overseeing the dock was spending over $0.3million daily, as running cost . It was gathered that the agency had made the expenses for many months which could have been avoided if a proper arrangement had been made to secure a permanent location for dock.
The agency was also forced to pay many months of demurrages for the floating that was lying fallow at the private jetty. There are indications that the Contractor is still pushing to get a N44 million demur rage from the agency for using its facility to keep the floating dock for many months.
The huge monthly running cost of maintaining the floating dock that is not generating any income may have informed why the then Management of the agency reached a working agreement with the Naval Holdings Limited , a subsidiary of the Nigerian Navy to keep the dock, in their Victoria Island facility.
Giving that the NIMASA, floating dock may have become a problem to the operations of the Naval Holdings graving dock, a Consultant was said to have been engaged to locate another site to berth the dock . A location within the Lagos axis was said to have been found for the agency by the Consultant which needed to do some dredging to be able to operate the floating the dock. The agency may not have it convenient to engage in such a huge capital expenditure that it continued the search for a permanent location for the dock.
This may have linked him to NPA, which had plans to Concession its Continental shipyard to a private operator. Jamoh, was said to have won the heart of Hajia Usman, who was ready relinquish one of its facilities for it.
This is evident going by the NPA, boss Statement, when the Duo met last year to finalise discussions on the Continental shipyard matter. She had said that there is need ‘’to promote the NIMASA local dry dock to the maximum capacity by placing the Authority Continental shipyard at the agency disposal as a preferred location that would serve the shipping Community.
The decision by the NPA, Management to relinquish the Continental shipyard to its sister agency, NIMASA, for keeping its dock , may have informed why Jamoh, the NIMASA, boss, who could not hide his feelings had started the process for the deployment of the dock for operations .
Going by the International Maritime Organisation, IMO, rules, every vessel involved in international and coastal trades , including fishing trawlers , are supposed ‘’to undergo dry-docking every three years to retain their safety Classification and insurance cover’’.
T An informed source told The Value News that its costs between $0.3million and $0.5million to effectively dry-dock a vessel. Based on the NPA, shipping position, records , over 5,000 ships and 400 trawlers, call at the Lagos ports of Apapa, Tin-can Island , Port, Port Multi-services Terminal Ltd, PTML, Kirikiri Lighter Terminal, phases I&II including the south east ports of Port Harcourt Area II, Onne, Rivers port, Delta port , Warri and Calabar port, yearly .
The increasing number of ships and fishing trwlers calling at the nation’s seaport, maritime analysts, had said could ensure a steady rise in the demand for ship repairs in the country with the use of the floating dock, showing that more money would now be entering into NIMASA or the private operator that may be engaged to oversee the dock accounts.
The NMASA Director General may have been forced to open up on the agency’s renewed plans to deploy the modular floating dock for operation during a recent visit to Hajia Usman, the NPA, boss, at her Marina office. ‘’I am here to confirm that the modular floating dock has come to stay, and to inform you that ‘’ the agency has concluded arrangements for its deployment for operation soon’’.
Giving an insider information of the process that had led to securing the NPA Continental shipyard as the permanent berthing site of the N50 million floating dock as well as getting the necessary approval from the Federal ministry of Transportation, under the close watch of Rotimi Amaechi, a former governor of Rivers state and the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission, ICRC, an elated Jamoh, had said that ‘’obtaining the approvals were important preliminary conditions needed to engage managing partners’’.
It is instructive to note that the ICRC, is in-charge of the mode of operations of the floating dock, whether it is going to be based on Public or Private ownership, PPP, arrangement or not. Note that the Maritime Regulation agency has acquired the floating dock to serve the shipping Community, both local and foreign as a Commercial facility.
True to her words of relinquishing the NPA, Continental shiyard to NIMASA, Hajia Usman ,had told those that cares to listen that ‘’the Authority will soon go into agreement with NIMASA, on the handover of the its Continental dockyard facility, jetty locations and warehouses, within the Continental dockyard premises to the agency to facilitate the installation of the floating dock’’. Although, the contents of the deal between the two maritimes agencies are still closed guided secreet, Jamoh may have gladdened the heart of stakeholders when he said that the floating dock has come ‘’ to stay and wmay soon be a revenue spinner for the country’’.
She was said to have told Jamoh, the NIMASA, CEO, that ‘’within the next few weeks the NPA facility would be ready for use by NIMASA an indication that that the dock which had been idle over the last three years would soon be put to productive use. This should the heart of the ship owners within and outside the country.