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NIMASA to Earn N12bn Revenue Annually from Idle Floating Dock

…As Jamoh Marks 100 Days in Office

-By Saidu Abubakar

The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) said it is projecting to generate up to N12billion in revenue per year from its multimillion-dollar floating dockyard, which is currently idling away in Lagos.

The acquisition of the controversial floating dock is at the cost of over N50billion by NIMASA. The vessel arrived Nigeria on June 11, 2018 and has since been gulping more than $10,000 daily as running cost without any commensurate benefit to the country.

Explaining the recent development and plans of the regulatory agency to mark the first 100 days in office of the new management of NIMASA, Director-General of NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, said to actualise this, the agency has opened discussions with the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and a prospective managing partner to put the facility into operation.

He said NIMASA is also expecting a job creation of about 350 Nigerians under five segments of the operation.

Dr. Bashir Jamoh, NIMASA DG

He said, “We have been discussing with the Managing Director of NPA to move our floating dock from its present location at the Naval Shipyard to the Continental Shipyard owned by the NPA. Though, we found out that there is an existing joint venture partnership between NPA and another company managing the authority’s dockyard but because of our own floating dock, the NPA decided to move its dockyard to somewhere in Snake Island, and the NPA is also winding up its joint venture agreement with the company as we speak,” he said.

Jamoh said NIMASA has also signed a memorandum of understanding with international oil companies (IOCs) that are doing business with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to patronize the floating dock when it becomes operational.

He stated that NIMASA would be filling in an application with the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) to approve the public private partnership (PPP) arrangement for the management of the dock.

Jamoh said NPA would come in as the owner of the Continental Shipyard, NIMASA as the owner of the floating dockyard while an independent player would be the technical managing partner.

On maritime security especially as regards the agency’s deep blue project, Jamoh said NIMASA is at 75 per cent stage in the acquisition of the platforms required for the complete takeoff of the project.

He said the agency in the past three months has been receiving several commendations for its strict fight against piracy, sea robbery and other illegalities on the waterways as well as the entire Gulf of Guinea region.

“The major problem of maritime security is lack of platforms. That is why NIMASA is investing heavily in the acquisition of special intervention vessels, special mission aircraft and helicopters that are due to arrive in August (2020) and January 2021 while some are already in Nigeria,” he said.

Meanwhile, in the last 100 days of Dr. Jamoh’s administration, NIMASA has hit the ground running with coordinated Maritime Security, Safety and Shipping Development (3S) plan to reconstruct the sector to be dependable for the Nigerian economy.

The new Management at the agency has outlined implementable policies and programmes intended to change the narratives in the Nigerian Maritime industry, through Shipping Development, Safety and Security of the Nigerian Maritime domain and provision of job opportunities, financing in order to create opportunities for Nigerians.

The Director-General of NIMASA, with his Executive Directors while briefing journalists on his scorecard in his first 100 days in the office said, the agency is now repositioned to tackle the multitude of challenges confronting the sector headlong and make it lucrative for maritime business to thrive.

Jamoh said a total of 27 alleged pirates were apprehended in the last three months. According to him, 17 are in the custody of the Nigerian Police, while 10 were arrested by the Nigerian Navy in collaboration with the agency and they are facing prosecution in accordance with the anti-piracy law.

He remarked that since 2016, not until the last two months, no single pirate has been arrested in Nigerian waters.

He said the feat was achieved by a joint effort of the NIMASA, Nigerian Navy and the Nigerian Police, revealing that every agency involved share information at different levels which led to the arrest of the culprits.

The NIMASA boss hinted that before the end of October 2020, the first leg of beneficiaries of the Cabotage Vessels Financing Fund (CVFF) will get their funds.

He said “Have just been appointed the Chairman of the CVFF disbursement committee by the Minister of Transportation. We are working to disburse the CVFF, before October, we will disburse the first leg of the fund to beneficiaries.”

The NIMASA DG said the agency and the NPA are almost finalising arrangements to deploy the floating dock to the Continental Shipyard owned by the NPA under a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement.

Jamoh said, already oil/gas majors are ready to dry-dock their ships with the facility and is expected to generate over N1billion annually and over 350 workers will be employed, adding that the floating dock will save Nigeria foreign exchange and generate more revenue to the government as well as serve as a seatime training of Cadets in mechanical and electrical fields.

On the commencement of the Deep Blue Project, Jamoh said over 85% of the project has been achieved. According to him out of the 17 Special Mission Vessels ordered, 14 have arrived, the armoured vehicles are ready, two Special Mission Aircraft are expected in October, while the three Special Mission Helicopters ordered are expected to arrive in January 2021.

Based on this, Jamoh said the agency went to ground zero in terms of platforms and equipment to fight piracy. But he assured with the arrival of these platforms the agency is set to battle criminality in Nigeria waters and generate more revenue, emphasising also that, the Deep Blue Project will provide training and employment to the teaming Nigeria youths.

He said the only aspect of the project remaining now is the training of personnel that will man the platforms, as according to him due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the training could have commenced which comprises of both foreign and local training.

Jamoh said the agency has presented a proposal to the Transportation Minister for approval and he hopes it will be approved, assuring that if palliatives are being approved for other sectors of the economy, he hopes the industry needs incentives to cushion the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Jamoh also said the agency is engaging all stakeholders, including the media to reorganise the industry for greater performance.

The International Maritime Organisation (IMO), has lauded the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and the Navy, and also pledged its total support to the Federal Government of Nigeria over its renewed efforts in controlling piracy and other maritime crimes.

The agency believes that by these efforts, the country is sending a “strong and valuable message” to the global community and therefore commends the NIMASA, and the Nigerian Navy, who have been at the forefront of the anti-piracy war.

Secretary-General of the IMO, Kitack Lim, who conveyed the excitement of the UN, also commended the new Director-General Dr. Bashir Jamoh, for his brave and dynamic approach towards maritime security.