The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has expressed its readiness to partner the Nigerian Navy (NN) to ensure safe navigation in the country's territorial waters.
Safe navigation has remained a major concern in Nigerian territorial waters as many criminal elements, especially pirates, often attack ships and dispossess them of their valuables, particularly cash.
Some attacks have resulted in deaths and injuries to crew members which have prompted the authority to take steps to safeguard vessels calling in the nation's seaports, especially Lagos.
Global maritime watchdog, the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), takes exception to infraction on safety as its affects ships and crew members. This was one of the reasons why it enacted the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) convention.
Managing Director of NPA, Alhaji Habib Abdullahi, dropped the hint in Lagos when the Flag Officer Commanding (FOC), Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral Ibok Ibas, paid him a courtesy visit in his office.
He told FOC and his entourage that the authority has received additional boats which will complement the functions of NN.
Abdullahi stated that NPA would give all necessary support and assistance to NN in performing its constitutional responsibility especially in the area of strict compliance of ships at the anchorage to security regulations.
He assured that the authority would liaise with NN on their specification of boats when purchasing more boats in the future.
Abdullahi had appealed to NN to fast-track approval for NPA to dredge and widen the protruding jetty which will improve shipping operation and would be mutually beneficial to both NPA and NN.
The FOC had earlier his remarks lauded NPA for its supports and assistance over the years, adding that the Navy would appreciate, if NPA would in the future provide boats which are in the excess of 32 meters to the Command, in order to further make the waters safer and more customer friendly, since both organisations operate within the maritime domain.
He said the visit was his first outing to any establishment since he took over the reins of administration last year.
He pledged continuous collaboration with NPA by sharing in the authority's vision of "delivering efficient port services in safe and secure environment" for the improved economic benefits of the maritime industry and Nigeria at large.
Present during the courtesy visit were NPA's Executive Directors, Marine and Operations, Mr. David Omonibeke, Engineering and Technical Services, Mallam Mohammed Sani Saleh amongst others.
The FOC was accompanied on the visit to NPA by the Chief of Logistics, Commodore Patrick Onaji, and Commander of NNS Beecroft, Commodore Christopher Ezekobe amongst others.
Meanwhile in a bid to fulfill NPA's goal of disseminating real time and accurate information that will enhance efficient service delivery in the nation's seaports, its Managing Director, Alhaji Habib Abdullahi has unveiled the Port Information Management System (PIMS) for the Lagos Ports Complex (LPC), Apapa, Lagos.
Speaking at the ceremony, Abdullahi disclosed that the project is a pilot scheme which begins at the nation's premier port and will be replicated in all seaports in the country soon.
He reaffirmed that as information is power, the authority has decided to embark on the project in order to ensure that its desire to be the hub port in West-Africa and indeed Africa could be realised.
He also commended the former Port Manager of LPC, Mr. Joshua Asanga, who is now the General Manager, Procurement for his initiative and urged other port managers to emulate him.
According to the project consultant, Mr. Frederick Agbi, the system will provide real time information on ship arrival on daily basis, display cargo type, type of vessel, expected time of arrival and departure, the agents husbanding the vessels, messages on operations at terminals, transfer of cargoes and containers going to Inland Container Depots (ICDs) and also serve as advertising platform at the port entrance.
Also speaking the Executive Director Marine and Operation, Mr. David Omonibeke, said the system will provide the authority and stakeholders first hand information to enable them act proactively and at the same time save cost.
Founder, National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Mr. Boniface Aniebonam, applauded the authority for the system and described it as an initiative to rebrand Nigeria ports.
Present at the occasion was the Executive Director, Engineering and Technical Services, Alhaji Mohammed Saleh; General Manager, Western Ports, Ms. Adenike Sonaike; the Port Manager of Apapa Port, Mallam Nasir Mohammed, and other management staff.
Other stakeholders present were the Managing Director of APMT, Mr. Dallas Hampton, Mr. Raymond Ngboko; Mr. Dipo Olayoku of NAGAFF, Mr. Christian Holm, and Group Managing Director of Polycomp Limited, Mr. Abi Iderawumi.