World Maritime Day: How Shipside Drydock mitigates dry-docking challenges for greener shipping
Since 1978, the United Nations set aside the last Thursday of September to celebrate World Maritime. This day is marked to honor the tireless efforts of maritime organisations, and industry workers, and to highlight the importance of maritime officers, service agents, and seafarers.
This year’s celebration-themed ‘New Technologies for Greener Shipping’ expresses the need to support the sector in transitioning into a greener and sustainable future through maritime innovation, research and development, and the demonstration and deployment of new technologies.
Every operational vessel needs routine maintenance and repairs to operate at its best. This process is called Dry-Docking. Annually, around 4,000 vessels stop at various ports in the nation, with 1,200 of them dry docking outside the country due to a dearth of shipyards in Nigeria. Every ship must dry dock at least once every three years in order to maintain safety classification, control emissions, and maintain ballast water system functionality, according to the International Maritime Organization (IMO). These issues demonstrate how critical it is to increase economic opportunity and resilience, especially in the most vulnerable economies.
Dry-docking is required for around 1200 boats stopping at the Nigerian port. While some ships are stranded in the Nigerian seas due to a lack of funds to transfer them to foreign shipyards, others have been forced to stay in yards significantly longer than intended due to full bookings in Europe, China, the Mediterranean, and the Black Sea.
In order to change the narratives and mitigate these challenges, the Shipside Drydock company built a maintenance and repair facility that houses eight state-of-the-art dockyards for total maintenance and repair of all types of marine and offshore vessels, tailored towards ensuring safe working conditions, competitive pricing, short lead times, high-quality workmanship, and overall reliability in the services to key players in the shipping industry. It is also embracing Nigeria’s plan to combat poverty and unemployment by leveraging the potential of sustainable use and conservation of marine, inland aquatic, and coastal resources (the “blue economy”) while boosting Nigeria’s revenue base.
The Shipside Drydock Company is a maritime subsidiary of the Nestoil Group that has positioned itself not only as a leader in the maritime sector of Nigeria but also as the preferred indigenous dry-docking company by vessel owners.
Drydocking is an integral part of the shipping sector, leveraging its challenges and, if harnessed properly, could drive training opportunities for specialised professionals, technology acquisition, and employment generation. The entire shipping value chain in Nigeria is incomplete without addressing effectively the challenges of drydocking in the country.
The Shipside Drydock Company has continued to raise the bar in the shipping industry through its contribution to boosting indigenous capacity, conservation of foreign exchange and promoting new technologies for a greener marine environment at both the manufacturing and administrative levels, with its state-of-the-art dockyard operating a 5000-ton capacity floating dock, measuring 110 meters in length, with external and internal beams of 32 and 26 meters, respectively, located at the Okirika Creek, Port Harcourt.
With the capacity of the Shipside Dry-Dock dockyards and a few standard technologies that have already been developed for use, the objective of building a “green ship” will be accomplished in compliance with the new environmental rules and regulations while reducing carbon footprints.
Shipside floating dockyards are a cost-saver for ship owners as the rate at which they tow their vessels abroad for repairs is being reduced. With over 400 vessels serviced by Shipside since it began operations, ship owners have stopped going abroad for dry-docking due to the increase in demand for ship repair and maintenance.
Apart from drydocking indigenous vessels, shipside dry dock has recorded a milestone in rendering services to international clients such as T1 Marine Services, Depthwize Nigeria Limited, Damen Services, Bourbon Interoil Nigeria Limited, Nautic Africa
This is a gold mine that has been tapped to grow the industry, save scarce foreign exchange (FX) for the country, and is also linked to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), specifically SDGs 13 and 14 on climate action and the sustainable use of oceans, seas, and marine resources; SDG 9 on the industry, innovation, and infrastructure; SDG 8 on decent work; and SDG 17 on partnership for goals.