AMES Cries Out, As N50bn Floating Dock Rots Away, Loses Insurance
By Kenneth Jukpor
Worried by the mismanagement of crucial maritime assets, the Association of Marine Engineers and Surveyors (AMES) has urged the Ministry of Transportation to order Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to put its N50billion floating dock into operations.
The Association made this plea during a press briefing yesterday, where it lamented that 3 year-old facility, MFDP NIMASA, has lost its class while it continues to cost the nation humongous sums without any value.
AMES President, Engr. Adeyinka Okunade lamented that the group had sought audience with the current leadership of NIMASA to discuss the issue and proffer solutions, but their attempts had been futile.
“We have made several attempts to meet the NIMASA Director General because we don’t believe in the strategy of criticisms, instead, we explore options and make efforts to solve the problems. NIMASA Floating Dock hasn’t been put to use for almost 3 years and it’s time to make suggestions on how best to utilize it. If it costs N50billion, why waste it,” the AMES President said.
The marine expert also noted that the facility could be useful in servicing ships with 5000 MT, noting that most oil supply vessels in the country could utilize the floating dock.
“The Floating Drydock is of a Modular type constructed by DAMEN SHIPYARDS GORINCHEM of Netherlands in 2016. The facility, which was built to Lloyds Register’s Class has not been surveyed since its delivery to Nigeria over 3 years ago. The Class has been withdrawn and the floating dock is now seriously becoming a derelict. By implication, the dock couldn’t have been insured. It’s a N50billion asset with insurance, ” the group said.
AMES equally gave NIMASA an option to hand the facility over to a Marine Engineering organization that specializes in ship drydock and repairs, noting that the mobile facility 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.
Maritime observers, however, have found this development strange as the leadership of NIMASA made the public believe that the floating dock had been moved to NPA dockyard and is already gainfully utilized.
Recall that the Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh assured industry stakeholders of the siting of a N50 billion floating dock at the Continental Shipyard Apapa, Lagos.
The agreement, which the NIMASA boss said was a public-private partnership (PPP) arrangement, was expected to generate about 500 jobs in the first year.
Meanwhile, the dock was also primed to generate about N12billion to the coffers of the federal government in the first year and the NIMASA Director General expressed optimism that the figure would increase over time.
These assurances and promises were given in June 2020, nine months later the floating dock remains at the Naval Dockyard accruing over N3.6million in daily expenses; and $30,000 per day as berthing charges to the Nigerian Navy.