In order to provide efficient domestic cargo needs, win back transit cargo hitherto lost to neighbouring countries and cater to the maritime requirements of landlocked neighbours, the Federal Government on Friday at the Lagos ports, inaugurated two units of Bollard Pull Tug Boats (vessels) acquired by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).
The state-of-the-art vessels, a three-pronged strategy of people technology, infrastructure and equipment, are part of the fulfillment of the agency’s service charter to provide relevant marine crafts to support port security, patrol, surveillance and deliver excellent marine services.
This is especially so with the commencement of operations of Nigeria’s first deep seaport, the Lekki Deep Seaport, Mr Mohammed Bello Koko, NPA Managing Director/CEO, said during the inauguration of the Tugboats by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Transportation, Dr. Magdelene Ajani.
“I am greatly delighted and honored to welcome you to this occasion, which is a demonstration of this administration’s resolve to position the Nigerian Ports Authority to respond squarely to the contemporary demands of trade facilitation.
“Imbued by our corporate aspiration of attaining hub status by more efficiently servicing domestic cargo needs, winning back transit cargo hitherto lost to our maritime neighbours and positioning to cater to the maritime requirements of our landlocked neighbours, we have deployed a three-pronged strategy driven by people technology, infrastructure and equipment such as the state-of-the-art vessels we are gathered here to commission today.
“This occasion is part of the fulfillment of our service charter to provide relevant marine crafts to support port security, patrol, surveillance and most importantly deliver excellent marine services especially with the commencement of operations of Nigeria’s first Deep Seaport, the Lekki Deep Seaport.
“Our determination to continuously enhance our operational efficiencies accounts for the purchase of these new 80 Ton Bollard Pull Tugboats christened M.T MAIKOKO and M.T DA-OPUKURO to complement our existing fleet of tugs and recently commissioned Security Patrol Boats (SPBs) and Pilot Cutters deployed to enhance channel security across all our locations”, the NPA boss said.
On the tugboats, Bello-Koko explained that “these neoteric 80ton tugboats are the first of the 2813 Azimuth Stern Drive (ASD) Model in Africa constructed by the world’s leading ship builders (Damen) and they possess exceptional Seakeeping Behavior, Superb Manoeuvrability of 360° using the Azimuth Thrusters, fire-fighting capability and Outstanding Towing Characteristics which will enhance the maneuvering of large capacity vessels of 300 Metres LOA and above presently calling at our Ports.
“In addition to positively affecting the turnaround time of large vessels, their deployment will enable stakeholders leverage the concomitant benefits of economies of scale, especially cost savings.’’
The NPA boss further pointed out that the deployment of the Lekki Deep Seaport as launch pad for transshipment remains unwavering, adding that the inauguration of the tug boats is an attestation to the NPA management’s doggedness and commitment to the noble cause.
He assured consignees, concessionaires and other stakeholders of continuous improvement in service delivery from the NPA under his leadership.
Inaugurating the two newly-acquired state-of-the-art marine crafts, the Permanent Secretary, Dr Ajani, said the acquisition of the 2813 model of Damen’s ASD neoteric 80 Tons Bollard Pull Tugboats, the first of its kind in Africa, had accentuated the determination of the Federal Ministry of Transportation to boost port operational efficiency.
“My joy derives from the fact that the acquisition of these equipment, amongst many others that are in the works, signposts Nigeria’s seriousness to optimize the opportunities inherent in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement to which we are signatory.
“Maximizing the comparative advantages that our maritime assets as a littoral nation confers rests heavily on how much we are able to deepen our efficiencies through the deployment of relevant technology and equipment.
“I particularly want to commend the NPA Management team for delivering on this project in good time to support the optimization of the Lekki Deep Seaport. This is the kind of efficiency that the Ministry supports its agencies to entrench in the polity and I am happy that we are making progress,’’ he said.
Ajani pledged the support of the Federal Ministry of Transportation to the audacious efforts of the NPA, agencies and parastatals of government towards inter-agency collaborations in the attainment of the overarching goal of making Nigeria a global reference point of excellence in trade facilitation.
He congratulated the NPA CEO, the management and stakeholders for the remarkable feat, expressing the hope of greater accomplishments in the maritime industry.