The National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) and Samsung Heavy Industries Nigeria (SHIN) Limited have forged strategic partnership to strengthen safety in the waterways.
This was in line with both organizations’ drive to rid the waterways of illegal operators while reducing accidents among jetty operators.
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Daily Trust recalls that NIWA’s inter-agency committee had recently clamped down on six unseaworthy barges operating illegally within the Lagos inland waterways, while three illegal jetties were sealed.
This followed the increasing reports of abuses of process in the operation of barges and private jetties.
The inter-agency committee comprises representatives of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA); Nigerian Maritime Administration Agency (NIMASA); NIWA and the Lagos State Inland Waterways Authority (LASWA).
Maritime experts however hailed the move which they described as a positive development that would improve the safety of the waterways and eliminate all forms of illegalities in the operations of jetties and barges.
NIWA’s decision to partner SHIN, according to analysts would encourage other foreign investors to do business in Nigeria.
A representative of SHIN, Mr. Jin Su Park said: “This strategic alliance is a revalidation of the faith the agencies of the Nigerian government have in SHIN, which aligns with our long-term commitment to Nigeria.
“Total safety, cost control and quality management will remain our priority. We will also improve on the local content standard and retain our position as local content champion.”
The company demonstrated its leadership position in shipbuilding and ultra-deep offshore projects when it built the Floating Production, Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessel designed to hold 2.3 million barrels of oil for Nigeria’s Egina deep water project developed by the French oil giant, Total.
Weighing close to 220,000 metric tonnes and measuring 330 metres long by 60 metres wide, the Egina FPSO is the largest ever built by Total Group worldwide producing 200,000 barrels of oil per day during to SHIN’s contribution.
SHIN used the Egina FPSO to deepen Nigerian content development when it locally fabricated and integrated six modules out of the 18 modules in the facility.
The FPSO berthed at the SHI-MCI yard in Lagos, and that was the first of its kind to be berthed at quayside in Nigeria.
SHIN’s investments in the fabrication and integration yard in Lagos transformed Nigeria into an FPSO hub in Africa.
It was gathered that the move to improve the safety on the waterways was made possible with the support from the NPA going by the reforms initiated by its Managing Director, Ms. Hadiza Bala-Usman to restore foreign investors’ confidence in the country in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s efforts to attract foreign investments to create jobs, increase Nigeria’s GDP and boost the economy.
Hon. Bunmi Olumekun, Vice-Chairman of Barge Operators of Nigeria in a chat with Daily Trust said any partnership to strengthen safety on the waterways is welcome, saying safety is one thing that should not be compromised.
Olumekun also advocated for a level playing field for all operators in the waterways.
“Standard is standard. We cannot relent. We need to go by the law. We need to go by international standard,” he said.