As the bickering continues over the location of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMSA’s), floating dry dock, the Maritime Industry Advocacy Initiative (MAIN), has said the facility is a national asset that should serve the entire populace and not a particular region.
Executive Director, MAIN, Sesan Onilemo, in a statement, said the recent request made by the duo of Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), and the United Niger Delta Energy Development Security Strategy (UNDEDSS), for the relocation of the multi-million dollar floating dock to the Niger Delta region, is, to say the least, typical and also laughable.
He stated: “In their funny postulations, the two Pan-Niger Delta non-government organisations claimed that the modular dry dock was specifically designed for the region and that it had been lying unused in the Lagos waters. They also argued that the benefits of the dry dock to the region would be immeasurable, considering the presence of Nigerian Maritime University in the Delta region. While the two groups which were represented by one age-long Niger Delta ‘voice’, are entitled to their opinions that they postulated in the statement, it is misleading and self-serving to solely ascribe the ownership of national assets and institutions to a region or a tribe.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the Maritime University in Okerenkoko is not a Niger Delta asset, neither is the NIMASA floating dry dock. They are national assets!
“As a maritime industry non-government organisation, whose main interest is the Nigerian maritime industry, MAIN wishes to remind the two Niger Delta interest groups that the Nigerian maritime industry is not rooted or domiciled exclusively in the Delta region. It is self-delusionary to think and propagate such,” he stated.
Onilemo argued that: “It is a fact that Okerenkoko does not meet the criteria of security. It also has very low economic value for a dry dock. We doubt if any shipowner will gladly bring his ship to that location for dry docking. They do have alternatives!
“Above all, at the last check, the draft at Okerenkoko or anywhere near it is far too shallow for a 13-metre draft facility such as the NIMASA dry dock.”
He quoted the Former Director-General of NIMSA, Dakuku Peterside, who had said: “When operational, the dry dock location will be a business decision and many factors will be considered before we decide where it will be located.”
Also, while providing more details into what will eventually determine the location of the facility, the former Executive Director Operations at NIMASA, Rotimi Fashakin, confirmed that the insecurity in the Niger Delta region made it difficult for NIMASA to berth the dock at Okerenkoko.
He noted that “A dock is supposed to serve the shipping community as a commercial facility,” adding, “which company or vessel would be bold enough to travel to Delta State because of the insecurity?
“The other thing was getting a place to berth it if you know the complexity of a floating dock, the draft that you need to keep it and operate it is 12 meters.”