The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) reached another milestone in efforts to enhance ports efficiency, channel and navigational services with the joint commissioning yesterday of four top-range tugboats valued at over $30 million.
Speaking at the event at Apapa, the NPA Managing Director, Ms. Hadiza Bala Usman, said the agency was now better positioned to deliver towage services in its pilotage district, as many private shipping operators had been concerned about the nation’s towing services.
Usman assured that the agency would look at the needs of the Western and Eastern Ports and deploy the boats accordingly, adding that the tugboats, now nine in number, will enhance revenue, as a lot of vessels would now confidently come into Nigerian waters, no matter their capacity.
She disclosed that the trainers have a transition period of three months to transfer the entire operation to Nigerian captains, who are already well trained and on board for familiarisation. She disclosed that each tugboat is manned by seven persons.
According to her, with over 100 critical wrecks already removed from the channel to improve safety and navigation, the four tugboats will add up to the existing five to improve transport demand and provide quick services to meet international standards.
Two of the ultra-modern, high-tech boats, MT Uromi and MT Majia, were delivered by Depassa Nigeria Limited on September 1, 2015, while MT Dauraand MT Ubima were delivered in November 2016, and their finishing done in Nigeria to conclude a procurement process begun in 2015.
The new tugboats are 60tonne bull and pull power ASD Damen 2810 series, fitted with a two-thruster propulsion Rolls Royce engine and driven by German-made state-of-the-art turbo MTWU 4000 diesel engines.
They are 28 metres long and 10 metres wide each, with speed of 40 knots for faster operational deployment, in addition to their fire-fighting capabilities, which were displayed before guests at the commissioning yesterday.