In a bid to halt capital flight occasioned by dry docking of vessels outside Nigeria, the vessel management company of the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG), thNLNG Ship Management Limited (NSML), is working with its foreign partners to set up a standard dry-docking facility in the country.
The Managing Director, NMSL, Abdul-Kadir Ahmed, disclosed this.
Ahmed said the planned facility, when fully operational will put an end to capital flight and conserve the much-needed foreign exchange for Nigeria. He stressed that none of the dockyards available in Nigeria could dry-dock any of her LNG vessels.
Speaking during an interactive session with selected news men in Lagos, Ahmed said NSML 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.
However, he said the company was unable to do so due to the lack of dry-docking facility that can handle an LNG vessel in the country.
As a result, he said the company was forced to dry-dock her vessels outside the country, stressing that he would have loved that dry-docking of its vessels happen in Nigeria.
In line with International Maritime Organisation (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.
Regrettably, due to the inability of existing docking facilities in the country to dry dock vessels of the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) Company, the Nigerian economy is losing several billions of naira to capital flight.
As at today, 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.
According to Ahmed, "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."
Also, he said NSML's "Clean Water Initiative" campaign was part of its Corporate Social Responsibility to highlight the effects of plastics, debris and other maritime litters on the waterways in Nigeria.
The initiative, he added, centres/focuses on actions, advocacy and public awareness campaign to tackle the devastating effects of plastics, debris, litters on the aquatic ecosystem; and their overall impact on the global maritime environment.
"It is also an integral part of NSML's corporate Brand Management Plan activities. The initial areas/scope of coverage will be NSML's primary areas of operation (AOP)- The NLNG Terminal in Bonny, as well as the ISB/OSB Jetty in Port-Harcourt. The plan is to ensure the proper clean-up and maintenance of the waterways at these AOPs; whilst extending the initiative in subsequent years to the inland waterways in Rivers State; and subsequently the national space, "he said.
He added, "The initiative was launched at the occasion to celebrate the IMO 2020 World Maritime Day, in September 2020, in line with the theme of the event - "Sustainable Shipping for a Sustainable Planet".
"The NSML Terminal Services team kickstarted the campaign by organising a clean-up exercise of the NLNG Bonny waterfront and it was a huge success.
"Management plans to further implement and expand the ideals of this campaign in the coming years as part of the company's overall CSR, BMP and Stakeholders Engagement plan; with the requisite approval and guidance of the Board of Directors."