Lagos — The Nigerian economy is losing several billions of naira to capital flight due to the inability of available docking facilities in the country to dry dock vessels of the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) Company.
In line with International Maritime Organization (IMO) regulations, every vessel must undergo dry-docking once every three years in order to retain their safety classification and insurance cover. It costs between $300,000 and $500,000 to dry-dock a vessel, according to prevailing international rates.
Dockyards in Nigeria include: Niger Dock, Dormanlong, Kaztec Engineering, Naval Dock, among others. They were established to conserve foreign exchange, building indigenous capacity as well as promoting technological advancement in the nation.
However, the vessel management company of NLNG, NLNG Ship Management Limited (NSML), over the weekend, said none of the dockyards available in Nigeria can dry dock any of her LNG vessels.
Speaking in Lagos, the managing director, NMSL, Abdul-Kadir Ahmed said his company would have wanted to dry-dock its 11 LNG vessels and one LPG vessel in Nigeria due to the huge revenue such would generate for the country, but for lack of dry-docking facility that can handle an LNG vessel in the country, the company is forced to dry-dock her vessels outside the country.
He said,"Capital flight is an issue when it comes to dry docking of our LNG vessels. However, underpinning that issue of capital flight is the capacity and ability to do it here in Nigeria. As a Nigerian ship management company, it's so much easier for me to dry-dock our vessels here in Nigeria and that is if there is anywhere, I can do it but, at the moment, there is no facility in Nigeria that can dry-dock vessels of the sizes that we manage.
"I don't want to sound critical but realistic. There is currently no facility in Nigeria that can handle any of our LNG vessels. I am not saying there are no dry-docking facilities in Nigeria but, if you understand the nature and size of an LNG vessel, then, we will all know that there is nowhere in Nigeria that such vessels can be dry-docked as at today."
Ahmed, however, disclosed that the company planned to set up a standard dry-docking facility in the country to put an end to capital flight that is occasioned by dry docking vessels outside Nigeria.