‘Lack of infrastructure push Nigerian ship owners to Ghana, Equatorial Guinea for repairs’

THE Director-General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Bashir Jamoh has expressed concern over lack of shipyard infrastructure in the country.

Jamoh observed that as a result of the infrastructure deficit, many Nigerian Ship Owners travel to Ghana and Equatorial Guinea to repair their vessels.

He spoke at the opening of the 4th Edition of the Nigerian Oil & Gas Opportunity Fair (NOGOF), with the theme, ‘Oil & Gas Industry – Catalyst and Fuel for the Industrialization of Nigeria’, in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.

The event is annually organised by the Nigerian Content Development Monitoring Board (NCDMB).

Jamoh projected a major leap in oil and gas export following determined efforts by the NCDMB towards the completion of the Brass Shipyard Project in Bayelsa State.

He applauded the NCDMB for initiating the project, which he said will enable vessel owners dry dock their vessels and carry out repairs in Nigeria.

Jamoh who was represented by NIMASA’s Director Cabotage Services, Rita Uruakpa, said apart from saving the country huge foreign exchange the project will also create more jobs and enhance export potentials of the country.

He assured the Board of the Agency’s support to ensure sustainable growth in the oil and gas sector, noting that the maritime industry is key to boosting export of crude oil and import of other industry related goods and services.

The construction of the shipyard in Brass Island, Bayelsa State, is expected to cater for the maintenance and repair services of cargo vessels, oil tankers, and LNG carriers.

The project is to be executed by the China Harbour Engineering Company, which had carried out similar projects across the globe. The feasibility study for the project is being funded by the NCDMB as part of its mandate to domicile key oil and gas industry infrastructure and increase retention of industry spend.

The scope of the feasibility study includes geo-technical and bathymetric surveys, conducting a market study, ascertaining an optimal construction scale, developing technical proposal and construction plan and estimation of the required investment to bring the project into reality.

Jamoh noted that high traffic of vessels in and out of Nigeria provides a huge opportunity to retain substantial value in-country through the provision of dry-dock services.

He said the shipyard project would further develop and harness the nation’s position in the oil and gas value chain and linkage to other sectors of the economy.

Earlier, the Executive Secretary of NCDMB, Simbi Wabote, said the NLNG’s Train 7 Project is expected to increase the company’s Liquefied Natural Gas capacity from 22MTPA (million tonnes per annum) to 30MTPA and induce the acquisition of additional LNG carriers to the existing ones, all of which would need maintainance and servicing.

He added that the project would also benefit from the upcoming implementation of the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) as Nigeria could serve as hub for ship-building and repairs.

Wabote expressed confidence that the outcomes of the feasibility study and subsequent construction and operation of the shipyard will create employment opportunities and contribute to poverty reduction in line with the aspirations of the Federal Government.

The NCDMB boss assured that the Brass shipyard project and other ongoing efforts to catalyze manufacturing would help the Board achieve the target of 70 per cent Nigerian Content by 2027.

He confirmed that the project was being driven by the NCDMB in conjunction with NLNG as a Capacity Development Initiative (CDI) on the back of the Train 7 Project.

Nigeria has a long coastline of 853 kilometers and navigable inland waterways of 3,000 kilometers, which offer immense potential for maritime sector development. ThecBrass coastline is very close to the Atlantic Ocean.

There are over 20,000 ships operating in the oil and gas sector on Nigerian waters and the annual spend on the maintenance of the vessels is over $600 million in the upstream sector.

According to statistics, operators in the oil sector spent $3.047 billion on marine vessels between 2014 and 2018 and 73 per cent of the total spend went to crew boats, security vessels, diving support vessels and fast supply intervention vessels. Other vessels in that category include mooring launch and shallow draft vessels.






     

     

    The ICIR observed that most of the vessels that operate in the oil industry are taken to Ghana, Equatorial Guinea, Cameroun and other countries for dry docking because Nigeria’s local dry docks were built many years ago and no longer provide the required services.

    Wabote further listed the objectives of NCDMB’s Marine Vessel Strategy to include promotion of indigenous ownership, increase participation and capacity of local shipyards to build, service and maintain marine vessels of various sizes, and manufacturing of vessel components and consumables in-country.

    Other objectives of the Marine Strategy are to give first consideration to Nigerian built or owned vessels for contract awards and job offers, discourage capital flight, generate employment and increase retention of industry spends and stimulate value creation.

    The Brass shipyard project’s schedule indicates that the site work would be executed within six months while feasibility study would be completed in four months.

    Harrison Edeh is a journalist with the International Centre for Investigative Reporting, always determined to drive advocacy for good governance through holding public officials and businesses accountable.

    Join the ICIR WhatsApp channel for in-depth reports on the economy, politics and governance, and investigative reports.

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