AMES tasks FG to immediately deploy NIMASA Floating Drydock for operation
…Bemoans delisting of the N50bn facility from Lloyds Register’s Class
The Association of Marine Engineers and Surveyors (AMES) has tasked the Federal Government to immediately direct that the Floating Drydock acquired by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) since 2016, be deployed for operation immediately.
President of AMES, Yinka Okunade, made the call Tuesday at a news briefing held by the association at the Mission To Seafarers House in Apapa, Lagos.
Okunade said that the facility, which was built by the Damen Shipyards Gorinchem of Netherlands in 2016 and delivered to NIMASA in 2018, had been left wasting away at the Naval Dockyard in Lagos, leaving it fast becoming derelict.
He said: “The purpose of this Press Statement is to urge the Federal Government through the Minister of Transportation, to urgently direct NIMASA to either immediately put the facility into operation or hand it over to a marine engineering organization that specializes in ship drydock and repairs.
“The Floating Drydock, which was built to Lloyds Register’s Class has not been surveyed since its delivery to Nigeria over three years ago. The Class has been withdrawn and the floating dock is now seriously becoming derelict.”
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 can 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.
Okunade said that NIMASA’s acquisition of the Floating Drydock was no doubt a good decision based on a drive to develop the maritime industry infrastructure, which would support ship owners and ship operations in complying with statutory requirements to drydock their vessels, and generate employment.
The AMES president, however, queried the choice of mooring the facility at the Naval Dockyard in Victoria Island, Lagos, where USD30,000 is paid as daily berthing charges, rather than have it moored in a facility owned by the Nigerian Ports Authority(NPA), which is a sister agency.
“Why would NIMASA choose Naval Dockyard and not Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), a sister agency, which already has a dedicated berth for a floating drydock?
“In the opinion of AMES, the mooring of the floating dock (MFDP NIMASA) at the Naval Dockyard is an avoidable wastage in terms of not only humongous expenses but safety of the Floating Drydock itself, and the potential environmental pollution that may occur,” he said.
AMES pointed out that since the drydock had been withdrawn from Class, having not renewed its class survey, the N50 billion asset could not have been insured.
It therefore concluded that “NIMASA and NPA, which are Maritime Agencies of the same ministry, be ordered to synergize and commission the MFDP NIMASA into operation immediately.
“NPA already has a fit-for-purpose berth and backup yard with workshop facilities at Apapa, which is lying waste. NIMASA having already procured the Float Drydock should take advantage of this already existing facility of the NPA to put the MFDP NIMASA to immediate use.”
AMES, however, reiterated the need to have a marine engineering company that specializes in ship repairs and maintenance operate the facility profitably.