• Sunday, July 21, 2024
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NPA enhances waterways security with N3.2bn patrol boats to Navy

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Determined to reduce illegalities on the Nigerian waterways, the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has handed over three patrol boats to the Nigerian Navy to enhance its capacity in safeguarding the nation’s waterways.

The three patrol boats, which include one 32-metre OCEA (P101) named NNS DORINA and two 17-metre MANTA boats (P258) named NNS TORIE and NNS EGEDE (P259), were built in South Africa at the cost of N3.2 billion ($20 million).

This move, industry close watchers say, has multiple effects on the economy as a secured waterway results to the reduction of insurance cost on freight, reduced freight charges that would lead to the stable prices of goods in the market.

Speaking at the presentation ceremony, Habib Abdullahi, managing director, NPA, said the presentation of the patrol boats to the Nigerian Navy was a demonstration of the authority’s collaborative efforts with relevant government agencies to secure both offshore and onshore water fronts. He noted that the unique operational features and capacities of the boats would afford the Navy ample opportunities to further their search and rescue operations as they safeguard the waterways.

The NPA boss noted that the main purpose of investing in the acquisition of the boats was to enhance the capacity of the Navy in discharging its surveillance duties on the nation’s territorial waters, urging the service to make adequate use of the platforms for the purpose for which they were acquired.

He also disclosed that the authority, in collaboration with the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), was perfecting plans to rehabilitate the Forward Operational Base (FOB) of the Navy located at Takwa Bay to further support the service in achieving its surveillance function on the waterways.

While receiving the boats, Samuel Alade, a rear admiral and flag officer commander of the Western Naval Command, who represented the chief of naval staff, said the donation of the three boats was timely owing to the recurring incidents of pirate attacks on cargo ships, illegal oil bunkering and crude oil theft on Nigerian waters.

According to him, proper utilisation of the three boats would help to keep the Nigerian maritime domain safe for economic activities, adding, “Therefore, we assure the port community that the Navy is committed to putting the boats into good use.”

In another development, the NPA has also launched an Information Communication Technology (ICT) help desk and computer gallery at its headquarters in Marina and the other six ports located in the eastern and western zones as well as the Abuja Liaison Office.

Abdullahi said the aim was to identify and block revenue leakages and invest in massive infrastructural renewal and development projects that are geared towards deepening the water channel so as to attract bigger vessels. This, he added, would also help to automate as well as integrate the various ports in the country with uniform information technology.

Olumide Oduntan, executive director, finance and administration, NPA, said the management was working towards delivering a totally-transformed and highly-efficient port system in line with the transformation agenda of President Goodluck Jonathan.