The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Marine Transport, Senator Ahmed Sani Yerima has said that the floating dockyard being built by the Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) will open new window of opportunities in the maritime industry in West Africa.
Yerima, who stated this when he led some members of the committee to evaluate the extent of work on the floating dockyard being built in Galati, Romania, also observed that the opportunities will not only be limited to job creation or conservation of foreign exchange but will include capacity building and wealth creation in the industry.
Yerima said with an average of 5000 ships calling at the Nigerian ports annually, 400 active coastal vessels and several fishing trawlers, the demand for ship repair and maintenance facilities can only be on the rise.
He decried the absence of modern functional floating dry docking facilities in the country which has forced ships and vessels to go overseas to undertake mandatory routine dry docking saying, “the few land based dockyards in Nigeria are not even functioning optimally. Sometimes Nigerian ship owners have to go to neighbouring Cameroon to dry dock vessels paying in scarce foreign exchange.”
The law maker said the NIMASA floating dockyard will be the first one-stop comprehensive floating ship repair and maintenance facility in West Africa and will have the sub region as its primary market.
He advised NIMASA to target offshore and coastal vessels as well as ships calling Nigerian ports, with a promise that whatever legislative backing the Agency will need will be given by the National Assembly.
Yerima commended the current leadership of NIMASA for being focused, ingenious and industrious. “NIMASA’s Director General and his team have proven that they are tested managers of men and resources with a vision to put the maritime industry on the path of accelerated growth thus they will enjoy the support of patriotic citizens including this Senate Committee,” he said.