By Seun Ibiyemi
The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has confirmed spending $30,000 per day maintaining a modular floating dock acquired since early 2018 at the Naval dockyard in Lagos.
This is about N10.8million of tax payers money spent on abandon modular floating dock by the federal government agency.
When NIMASA took delivery of the N50 billion floating dock in June 2018, it had assured that the facility would help boost ship repair capacity, generate wealth and create employment for Nigerians.
Addressing a press conference in Lagos, Director General, NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside confirmed that the design of the floating dock was for it to berth in Okerenkoko Delta State, the permanent site of the Nigerian Maritime University.
Unfortunately, the NIMASA management now regrets that keeping the floating dock alive cost a whooping $30,000 daily and the agency had to be paying demurrages.
Providing more details into how the floating dock has turned out to become a financial drainpipe for NIMASA, the Executive Director Operations of NIMASA, Eng Rotimi Fashakin confirmed that the insecurity in the Niger Delta region made it difficult for NIMASA to berth the dock at Okerenkoko as originally designed.
Presently, he said the multi billion Naira facility is now lying fallow at the Naval dockyard pending when the agency would get a permanent location to operate it.
“Initially when the floating dock was acquired, the design was for it to berth in Delta State. But even at that time, there were a lot of reports advising to the contrary, there were lots of surveys advising to the contrary, these reports are still there till date”
“When we got here, we were forced to review all these reports and take a decision that we think would serve all interest in the shipping community”
“The floating dock was not conceptualized by the Dakuku Peterside administration, we only inherited it just like the Buhari administration inherits projects and goes ahead to actualize it.
“Indeed, the floating dock was supposed to go to Okerenkoko in Delta State, but the conditions that exist now, for the dock to get to Okerenkoko now is almost impossible, a dock is supposed to serve the shipping community as a commercial facility, but which company or vessel would be bold enough to travel to Delta State because of the insecurity.
“When the dock landed in Nigeria, there were various state governments that requested for it, all these are on record.
“When it came in, we thought of many ideas, first is to get an operator to operate it, but this is a government asset and not something you can just give to an operator, NIMASA is a regulator and not an operator, so giving the dock to an operator also needs to go through the bureaucracy of government.
“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.
“The contractor was spending over $30,000 keeping the dock afloat for many months and we had to pay many months demurrage on that.
“Eventually we reached a situation where we had an agreement with the Naval Holdings Limited, a subsect of the Nigerian Navy to keep the dock
“We are still looking forward to having a formal MoU which we would have an operator operating the floating dock”
“The Navy also has a graving dock, the initial report shows that if that floating dock is operating as it is, it would imperil the graving dock, so the Naval Holdings Limited suggested another spot where we could use it, a consultant was asked to assess the spot, the report of the consultant is out, we would need to do some dredging at that spot where we can now operate the floating dock,” he said.