• Saturday, July 13, 2024
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NPA commissions tugboats to ease berthing at Dangote Refinery, Lekki Port

NPA commissions tugboats to ease berthing at Dangote Refinery, Lekki Port

Adegboyega Oyetola, minister of Marine and Blue Economy, has commissioned two newly acquired 80-tonne bollard pull tugboats deployed to enhance the berthing of vessels at the Dangote Refinery and Lekki Deep Seaport.

Christened MT IRAGBIJI, and MT BAMA, the vessels are expected to support port security, patrol, and surveillance and to deliver efficient pilotage and towage services to help the growing cargo evacuation needs of the Lekki maritime corridor.

Speaking at the commissioning in Lagos on Thursday, Adegboyega Oyetola, minister of Marine and Blue Economy, said the investment into acquiring the marine craft is a step towards enhancing port efficiency and strengthening Nigeria’s position as a leading maritime nation in the region.

According to him, the present administration is committed to investing in developing the nation’s maritime assets.

“We recognise the critical role that efficient port operations play in accelerating economic growth and will do all that is required to update the existing facilities to deliver on this.

“By acquiring these modern marine crafts, we are reaffirming our commitment to maximise the opportunities presented by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement. We are determined to optimise our competitive edge as a littoral nation and deepen our efficiencies through the deployment of cutting-edge technology and equipment,” Oyetola said.

Earlier, Mohammed Bello-Koko, managing director of the Nigerian Ports Authority, said the acquisition would enable the Ports Authority to attain a regional hub status by efficiently servicing domestic cargo needs, winning back transit cargo hitherto lost to maritime neighbours and positioning to cater to the maritime requirements of landlocked neighbours.

He said the NPA has deployed a three-pronged strategy driven by people; technology, infrastructure, and equipment such as the state-of-the-art vessels are were commissioned.

He said the marine crafts were part of NPA’s deliverables under the Presidential/Ministerial Performance Bond to optimise Nigeria’s marine and blue economy by providing relevant marine technology and equipment.
Pointing out that the vessels would be deployed to enhance operations at the Lekki corridor, Bello-Koko said the corridor has become a hub for actualising Nigeria’s quest for self-sufficiency in energy, agricultural growth, and trade transhipment capacity with the hosting of a 650,000 barrels-per-day Dangote Refinery, Africa’s largest granulated urea fertilizer complex and Nigeria’s first fully automated Deep Seaport, which can berth Super Post Panamax sized ships.

“Data from Dangote Petroleum Refinery and Petrochemicals shows that 120 tanker vessels have been handled in the last six months from January – June 2024 with a projection for 415 between July to December, while Dangote Fertilizers have handled 17 fertilizer vessels with a projection for 41 in the corresponding period,

“We are by these commissioning and ancillary deployments putting mechanisms in place to cater for continuous increase going forward,” the NPA boss assured.

Bello-Koko commended the Minister of Marine and Blue Economy for the continuous support that enabled the Ports Authority to enhance its operational efficiencies.

Also speaking, Adewale Adeniyi, comptroller general of the Nigeria Customs Service, said Customs has found it comfortable to work with the NPA to develop the export sector, automate Customs processes, decongest the port, and ensure port efficiency.

According to him, the collaboration between Customs and NPA has started yielding good fruits as the NPA and the Customs were recently ranked high by the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) in line with the vision of the present administration to reposition the Nigerian maritime sector.

He assured that Customs would do all within its capacity to remain on top of ease of doing business ranking for the growth of the maritime industry.

Dayo Mobereola, director general of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), lauded the NPA and Minister of the Marine and Blue Economy for the leading role played in driving efficient service delivery in the nation’s port industry.

He said trade facilitation comes with efficiency and only efficient service delivery would enable Nigeria to regain cargo lost to neighbouring West African ports.