Reaffirming its total
commitment to the improvement of the marine services the NPA offers to stakeholders, the organisation has established a Maritime Safety Centre, (MSC) designed to provide on-the-job continuous training to all categories of its marine personnel.
The project is being anchored by the Business Development and Joint Venture Division of the NPA in conjunction with the its joint venture partners.
Demonstrating its commitment to the success of the centre, the NPA Executive Management team, led by the Managing Director, Mallam Habib Abdullahi, last week paid what was described an unscheduled visit to the site located at the NPA Dockyard, Apapa, Lagos, South-West Nigeria.
Abdullahi said during the visit that work would shortly commence with the first phase to install a Full Bridge Navigation Simulator, adding that, once this is operational, then work would continue with the phased-development of the MSC to offer other aspects of continuous training for the NPA’s marine personnel.
The simulator will allow NPA pilots and tug-masters to gain regular refresher training in line with requirements of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).
The facility will also serve the NPA in allowing its pilots to plan and practice calls to Nigeria by the current trend of larger ships, such as the recent trial calls at Onne, Rivers State, of the West African Maximum- (WAFMAX-) class 249-metre long container ship, the Maersk Copenhagen.
NPA pilots had utilised navigation simulation to develop the plan and to practice manoeuvres for the visit of the Maersk Copenhagen in December, last year , which proved successful and will now result, commencing this month, in weekly visits by this large vessel and similar others to the Lagos Port Complex (LPC) and the Tin-Can Island Port Complex (TCIPC), both in Apapa, Lagos, Western Ports, NPA, and Onne Port, Rivers State, Eastern Ports, NPA.
The NPA Managing Director had announced the completion of all preparations for the safe arrival of the Maersk Copenhagen with a capacity of 4,500 TEUs (20-foot equivalent unit containers).
“The bigger the vessel, the bigger the cargo … and the bigger the revenue that would accrue to Government purse”, an elated Abdullahi told journalists, stressing that this was facilitated by successive dredging campaigns by the NPA.
The Maersk Copenhagen, according to him, had made a trial visit to Onne on December 4, 2013, while this latest call will be on “commercial basis”, with the vessel laden with cargoes.
Abdullahi said: “Not only are our navigational channels now safe and navigable, but they have also started attracting bigger vessels who, hitherto, do not call on our shore.
“The coming of the WAFMAX vessel into Onne is one of this manifestation which is as a result of the deepening of the Bonny Channel.”
He posited that the huge benefits derivable from the economies of scale in the deployment of the vessels to Nigeria could signpost the attainment of a hub port status.
“Last year, we increased our revenue generation by over 7.5 percent; and this is just the beginning. And this goes to show that the claims that cargo is being diverted on whole sale to some other ports may not be true after all.
“In any case, if people even divert to other ports, it is not because of our lack of capacity. It is probably, for some other reasons,” the NPA boss said.