NCDMB, Navy Plan Joint Committee on Maritime Security in Oil Locations

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*Content board commences facility repairs for large ships

Emmanuel Addeh

The Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) and the Nigerian Navy yesterday agreed to set up a joint committee to work out ways to solve the perennial insecurity in oil locations in the country.

The Executive Secretary (ES), NCDMB, Mr. Simbi Wabote who spoke during a meeting with the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Zubairu Gambo in Abuja, said the collaboration became important because of the threat posed by the activities of aberrant operators in the waterways.
The ES stated that the enforcement of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development (NOGICD) Act in maritime operations would curb the use of non-compliant and non-categorised vessels.

In addition, he explained that working closely with the navy would help in intercepting illegal vessels as well as aberrant crew members impinging on the country’s oil and gas assets.
“The two organisations would set up a high-level committee that would work out detailed modalities for the collaboration and enable both organisations to accomplish their respective mandates,” he said.

According to Wabote, the board receives alerts regularly via its whistle-blowing portal and would like to investigate such information and recommend genuine cases to the navy.
Other possible areas of collaboration, he said, included support to the board in assessment visits to vessels and provision of information to the board on vessels and tankers plying the Nigerian waters and oil and gas locations.

Wabote stressed that the navy was well situated to drive the security aspect of the industry’s operations, particularly in securing the nation’s shores against piracy and illegal oil bunkering.
He said the navy’s role was critical because the bulk of Nigeria’s oil and gas reserves lie along the coastal areas of the country, including major infrastructure and plants for hydrocarbon processing and exports.

He also commended the navy for its efforts in promoting Nigerian content, notably by engaging the services of indigenous engineers and service companies in the fabrication and maintenance of navy boats, thereby boosting local content in the industry.

The ES highlighted the need for closer ties particularly because of the board’s long-term vision to increase Nigerian content levels in the oil and gas sector from the current level of about 40 per cent to 70 per cent by the year 2027 as part of the Nigerian content 10-year strategic roadmap.

Wabote identified the board’s marine vessels development and categorisation strategy as one of the core initiatives that would support the actualisation of the roadmap.

“The goals of the marine vessel initiative are to promote the construction and maintain vessels in Nigerian yards and stimulate ownership of marine vessels by Nigerian entities.

“It will grow flagging and registration of vessels in Nigeria, deepen Nigerian manning of marine vessels, and develop world-class ship repairs and shipbuilding yard,” he stated.

He reported that the board had made progress in the various aspects of its objectives such as support for the acquisition of marine vessels by Nigerians via the Nigerian Content Intervention Fund managed by the Bank of Industry (BoI).

According to him, the provision of sea-time training for marine cadets, patronage of in-country dry-docks, and the completion of the feasibility study and site selection for the proposed development of shipyard were also activities being carried out.

Listing some other achievements of the board in the past five years, Wabote stated that it had begun the first phase of developing the Brass Island Terminal in Bayelsa State.

“The facility will carry out repair and maintenance of large ships and vessels such as LNG carriers, and maritime equipment such as jack-up rig vessels,” he added.

In his comments, Zubairu pledged the support of the navy in deepening stakeholders’ compliance with the NOGICD Act.

He also sought the assistance of the board in upgrading the naval shipyard in Lagos, particularly the slipway.

While highlighting the navy’s milestones in research and development, the naval chief sought the board’s collaboration in improving the navy’s capabilities in that space as well as creating a market for its products in the oil and gas industry.