The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Onne Port Complex, has successfully berthed one of the biggest gearless Maerskline vessels at the Federal Ocean Terminal (FOT), Onne in Rivers State.
The Maerskline Stardelhorn vessel, with length overall of 300 metres and width of 48 metres, is the biggest-ever container vessel to berth at any Nigerian ports.
The vessel, which has a capacity of 9,971 (TEUs), is a flagship from Singapore.
NPA Managing Director, Ms. Hadiza Bala-Usman, while receiving the vessel, said the NPA was determined to ensure that eastern ports remain attractive to shippers.
Represented by the Assistant General Manager Harbours, Captain Uduiguomen Eboreime, Bala-Usman said she was happy for the safe arrival of the ‘Maersk Stadelhorn Vessel’ at Onne Port.
She said NPA was equal to the task, adding that the successful berthing is as a result of five-day preparations for the arrival of the vessel from Cotonou, Benin Republic.
Giving details of the vessel, Maesrkline, Port Captain, Kikelomo Cudjoe, gave the length of the vessel as 300 metres (length overall), the width 48 metres and a total draught of 11.2 metres, while the vessel capacity stood at 9,971(TEUs).
The Port Manager, Mr. Alhassan Abubakar, who received the vessel along with some Onne port team, described the arrival of the vessel as a milestone attained by NPA.
He thanked Bala-Usman for the support and assistance given to Onne Port Complex in making the arrival of the vessel possible.
“I give kudos to NPA MD. She made this ‘landmark/achievement today possible. This is the first time such a gigantic container vessel is calling at any Nigerian Ports,“ he stated.
He stated that the arrival of the vessel is a trial, adding that the port is well equipped with all facilities and equipment to receive the vessel.
He said the vessel was brought in from Fairway Bouy Bonny by NPA’s three pilots who are well trained on pilotage of such vessel.
“We deployed three TUG Boats with three pilots from Onne Port Complex, and for us, the successful arrival of this vessel showcased the expertise of NPA’s ports operations.
An Assistant Harbour Master Onne Port, Captain Marvin Omovbude, who led other pilots– Ezra Yashiyi Yakubu and Abdulahi Sarki– piloted the vessel to Onne Port Complex.
“The vessel arrived safely without any security challenges of any type, indicating that the security status of Onne Channel has improved tremendously and the channel depth has also been improved and maintained to receive such large modern vessels,” Abubakar stated.
He added that this development shows that the NPA is fully equipped, noting that shippers in the eastern none and those in the northern axis will have the option to make choices.
He said consumers in the eastern and northern axis would benefit as he congratulated NPA staff for a credible performance on the safe arrival of the vessel.
Also speaking at the event, the Country Manager of A P Moller, Klaos Holman Laursen, said this was the biggest container vessel to berth in any Nigerian port.
Speaking to the port stakeholders who came to welcome the vessel, Omovbude said NPA had recorded a milestone.
He, however, congratulated the NPA MD for making this possible, saying that Onne Port is taking the lead in ports operations and efficiency among the ports in African Sub-region.
“The executive management of the Nigerian Ports Authority, led by Hadiza Bala-Usman, has been implementing deliberate policies to promote the patronage of the eastern ports by given incentives and provision of port facilities and dredging of the channel,“ he added.