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 windows of opportunity in the maritime industry in West Africa.
Senator Yerima spoke when he led some members of the Committee to evaluate the extent of work on the floating Dockyard being built in Galati, Romania, said 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.
Senator Yerima said that with an average of 5,000 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 lamented 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.
“The few land based dockyards in Nigeria are not even functioning optimally. Sometimes Nigerian ship owners have to go to neighboring Cameroon to dry dock vessels paying in scarce foreign exchange.”
The Senate Committee Chairman said that 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.
Senator Yerima commended the current leadership of NIMASA for being focused, ingenious and industrious.
“Dr Peterside 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.” [myad]