The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has acquired four tugboats at the cost of over N9.16 billion to improve port efficiency.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the tugboats are MT DAURA, MT. UROMI, MT. UBIMA and MT. MAJIYA.

At the inauguration of the tugboats on Wednesday in Apapa, Lagos, the Managing Director, NPA, Ms Hadiza Usman, said that they were needed to assist vessels to berth appropriately into the channels.

Usman added that the tugboats would enhance navigation and improve management of the channels.

“The authority is to fulfill its obligation with Joint Venture Channel Management Companies by carrying out capital amendment dredging of the
channels.

“The partnership has improved the dredging of the channels.

“The Lagos channel is up to 13.5 metres deep while more than 100 critical wrecks have been removed from the channels.

“Through the joint partnership, about 232.3 metres vessels carry up to 3,500 TEU, and such vessels require approximately 11.5 metres depth,’’ Usman said.

A member of Senate Committee on Marine Transportation, Sen. Binta Garba, who inaugurated Mt. MAJIYA, said that the inauguration would have a multiplier effect on the nation economy.

Garba said that the senate would not relent in assisting government agencies to develop infrastructure to enable government to generate more revenue.

She urged the NPA to intensify efforts in revenue generation.

Mr Emmanuel Adesoye, the Chairman, Board of Directors of NPA, commended the achievement.

Adesoye said that the tugboats were of the best brands and would serve as a powerful revenue earner.

Adesoye said that the four tugboats had increased to nine, the number
of the tugboats available to improve ship anchorage in various channels.

In a message, the Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr Dakuku
Peterside, also hailed the NPA for the feat.

Peterside, who was represented by the Executive Director, Finance and Administration of the NIMASA, Alhaji Bashir Jamoh, said that the tugboats would assist in daily operations of the authority and reduce turnaround time of vessels calling at the ports.

“Before now, attention had always been in the recurrent expenditure in Nigeria, but the current administration shifted to capital expenditure which is the catalyst to economic growth and development.

“Infrastructure development is crucial to the growth of the maritime sector and by extension the Nigerian economy, particularly now that the Federal Government is diversifying the economy in order to create more jobs and generate more revenue.

“The efforts of NPA will go a long way in assisting the government to realise its agenda and also help to plug revenue leakages at this time the country is trying to get out of recession.

“The Dockyard will save Federal Government at least 100 million
dollars annually which will be direct savings from the dry docking of vessels operating in Nigeria,’’ Peterside said.

He said that it was Nigeria’s desire to partner with the private sector to
run the dockyard, adding that NIMASA would continue its collaboration
with NPA and other sister-agencies in ensuring safe and secure maritime domain.

Mrs Nike Akande, President, Lagos Chamber of Commerce, said that there was the need to provide necessary facilities in the ports.

Akande expressed satisfaction that the NPA procured the tugboats under the leadership of a woman.

She said that the inauguration of the tugboats would ease operations in the ports.

Rear Admiral Ferguson Bobai, Flag Officer Commanding Western Naval Command,
urged the management of NPA to assist the navy to train its officers and men
on the operations of the tugboats.

Bobai said that full operations of the tugboat would improve turnaround time in ports.

He, however, urged that the tugboats be handled properly to avoid accidents.

The Managing Director, Depase Company, Mr Gadi Ilan, commended the NPA for giving the company the opportunity to train the Nigeria crew on additional operations regarding the tugboats.

Mrs Lizy Ovbude, Managing Director, Ports and Terminal Operators Nig. Ltd., urged the NPA management to extend the operations of the tugboats to the Eastern Port.

Ovbude said that terminal operators usually ended up hiring tugboats from private companies to enable them to anchor their vessels safely.

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