The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) on Wednesday scored another first in its quest to reposition the Ports for greater operational efficiency in the areas of Port safety and security when it launched four new tug boats at a colourful ceremony in Lagos.
The tug boats named Mt. Daura, Mt. Ubima, Mt. Uromi and Mt. Majiya were each launched by the Managing Director of the NPA, Hadiza Bala Usman, Barister Mrs. Constance Harry Onukwagha, Chief (Dr.) Mrs Adenike Akande and Senator Binta Masi Garba in that order. These vessels are capable of performing multiple functions which include firefighting, search and rescue capabilities.
Speaking at the event, Hadiza Bala Usman said the commissioning of the tug boats was to enhance Port efficiency and meet Stakeholder’s expectations in the shipping sector. She sought the collaboration of Stakeholders in the sector to help the Federal Government to diversify the economy.
According to her, the NPA was fulfilling its obligations to manage the 13.5 metres Lagos Channels to address challenges in the Port business in partnership with the Lagos Channel Management Company (LCM). She further stated that about 100 critical wrecks have been removed in the Lagos Channels since the partnership with LCM began years ago.
Usman added that “this is indeed a milestone in the efforts to improve Port efficiency, safety of navigation and in order to boost the good fortune of the Organization and the community at large”.
The MD also added that the partnership with LCM has helped to bring the depth of the channels to more than 13.5 metres adding that the biggest of the WAFMAX series of vessels will soon call at the Lagos Ports.
Explaining some of the functions of the tug boats, the MD said she helps bigger vessels attain easy maneuvering and berthing at the quays, as the pilot takes the vessels through.
In her goodwill message, the distinguished Senator, Mrs Binta Masi Garba affirmed that commissioning 4 tug boats in one day was laudable and that the National Assembly would do everything to support what the NPA is doing since it would help to improve the economy of the nation especially in the present situation.
In her own speech, the President of Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Mrs Adenike Akande while acknowledging that Nigerian women are doing well, commended the NPA MD for achieving so much within a short period.
Also speaking at the event, the General Manager, Monitoring and Compliance, Western Ports of the NPA, Capt. Iheanacho Ebubeogu stated that the tug boats were being commissioned and deployed to expedite voyage to and from the sea in line with changing transport dynamics.
He further revealed that the NPA maintains tier-2 status in line with MARPOL convention with the capability to arrest pollution before they spread to other areas of concerns to delight of Stakeholders. Ebubeogu said the tugs could be used to, amongst other functions, salvage ships which go aground.
In his speech, the Chairman of the NPA Board of Directors, Mr. Emmanuel Olajide Adesoye extolled the Management for doing a” fantastic job” in launching the boats. He disclosed that the tugs are expected to enhance the revenue position of the Authority and urged the Organization to ensure that Nigeria develops the capacity to build our own likes in the next five years.
In his remarks, the Flag Officer Commanding (FOC) Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral F.D. Bobai congratulated the NPA for the feat and called for greater synergy with the Navy especially in the training of Dock Masters and future Managers of the crafts.
The very memorable event was witnessed by top Management of the Organization, the Executive Directors Marine and Operations, Dr. Sokonte Huttin Davies, Engineering and Technical Services, Professor Idris Abubakar and Finance and Administration, Mohammed Bello Koko.
Amongst other Stakeholders who congratulated the NPA for this achievement included the MD, PTOL, Mrs Lizzy Obvude, the representative of the DG NIMASA, ED Finance and Administration, Mr. Bashir Jamo.