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NPA Begins Settlement For $12.5m Port Dredging Contract

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The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), yesterday said the Federal Government has initiated out-of-court settlement  with Niger Global Engineering and Technical Company Limited over the $12.5million Calabar Port dredging contract.
Speaking to newsmen after a tour of the Calabar Port, after paying a courtesy visit on the Obong of Calabar, Edidem Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu V, the Managing Director, Mohammed Bello-Koko, said litigation between the agency and the dredging company has stalled the dredging of the Calabar channel.
He, however, disclosed that NPA and the Federal Ministries of Transportation and Justice have resumed discussions on how to settle the issue out of court so that dredging can continue and vessels with deeper draught can berth at the port.
“The channel management was awarded many years ago but there is litigation between the Nigerian Ports Authority and the contractor that was awarded the contract and this has inhibited our ability to dredge the channel. But, what we have done in recent time is to start looking for out of court settlement.
“The port authority is working with fedteral Ministry of Transportation and Ministry of Justice. They have resumed discussions in terms of how to settle this out of court. That has to be done inorder for us to either return the same contractor to continue dredging, or appoint another company to do the dredging of the channel.
“That has been what has delayed or stopped the dredging of that channel. We have taken it very serious, it is one of the reasons we are here today and to also meet with terminal operators and discuss with them, reassure them that government is taking all necessary action to ensure that the issue is taken care of as soon as possible,” he said.
The NPA boss also disclosed that draft limitations has been hindering the calling of vessels at the Calabar Port but disclosed that discussion is ongoing with importers for more vessels to berth at the port using flat bottom vessels.
He stated that the port has close proximity to the North Eastern and Central part of the country, hence the need for it to be viable for importers in the North to import and export their consignment.
“In bringing traffic to Calabar, we are not oblivious of the draft limitations along the channels, but we believe that there are still business that can still come here, import can come to Calabar rather than taken to Lagos.
“Don’t forget that Calabar is strategically located as the nearest port to the North Eastern and some part of the Central states in the country.
“There have been regular interactions with importers which took place in Calabar some months ago and also Port Harcourt and we are here to have the same discussion.
“We have been discussing with shipping companies and the consignees themselves. We would locate major importers into the country and encourage them to use Calabar. And also, exporters to ensure export products are taken out through the seaports”, he said.
Bello-Koko continued continued that “about two days ago a vessel came in with a lot of trucks and equipment. It did not just come from nowhere, it came because of the efforts being made by the Port Manager and Executive Management of the NPA.

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Maritime

NPA Blames Under-Utilisation Of Eastern Port On Insecurity

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The management of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has linked the under-utilisation of the four Ports in the Eastern states to acts of insecurity in the waterways
The Authority also attributed the  length and drafts of the channels as factors for low traffic and under utilization by investors.
Managing Director, NPA, Mohammed Bello Koko, disclosed this in Port Harcourt during a recent tour of facilities in Rivers Port Complex.
Koko, who stated that NPA is interested in decongesting ports in Lagos, said they are partnering with the Nigerian Navy and Community youths to secure the waterways in the Eastern region to attract investors and importers to do business in the Ports.
“We will like to decongest the Lagos Ports by encouraging the Eastern Ports to compete favourable with other ports in West Africa.
“We are serious at increasing the traffic in the Eastern Ports and make them more competitive with other West African Ports”, he explained.
He further noted that as a way of attracting investors and importers to patronize the Ports, NPA has reduced tariff in the Eastern Ports to encourage investors to do business in the Eastern Ports.
On dredging of the Rivers Ports, Koko said dredging of the channels to a little above 9.5 metres to 13 metre would collapse the berth, noting that the port is a colonial port built over One hundred years ago.
”We are discussing on how to revitalize the collapsed berth 7 and 8 and make it more functional to attract investors to move bigger vessels to the terminals.
“We need to dredge and deepen the channels to accommodate more and bigger sea going vessels to increase flow of traffic to the ports”, Koko said.
He diclosed that NPA is working towards moving more cargos from the Rivers Port Complex and Eastern to Onitsha  Port.
He noted that the idea, when put into effect, would reduce movement of containers by land and make it more safe and secure for the importers.

By: Chinedu Wosu

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NIWA Links Boat Mishaps To Lack Of Navigational Aids

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Management of  National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA)  has attributed the incessant boat mishaps at night to lack of navigational aids installed in the boats.
The Authority said over 95 percent of mishaps happened at night hours or wee hours.
Managing Director, NIWA, George Moghalu, stated this during a media parley with journalists in Lagos.
“Ninety to Ninety-five per cent accidents happen in the night or early in the morning. These vessels do not have night navigational aids, therefore, they should not move in the night. But people will still move at nights.
“The drivers will avoid the right jetties and at times, they do not even move from jetties, but at river banks to the water to expose our people to dangers,” he said.
The Authority said it is working with barge operators to have a comprehensive insurance cover for both barges and cargoes on Nigeria’s waterways.
NIWA said an improved quality insurance cover for vessels is a prime project it is fully committed to in its bids to decongesting the nation’s ports and reducing pressure on Nigerian roads.
“We are looking at having quality insurance to cover both the barges and the cargoes.
“This was some of the issues raised by the importers, because they do not want a situation where they would gamble with their goods to bring their goods from China and Europe and then getting to lose it on the Nigerian waterways”, Moghalu explained.
The Authority insisted that it would arrest and prosecute any boat driver found wanting in the act, even as he appealed to boat owners and operators to desisted from plying at odd hours to avoid mishap
He admonished drivers and passengers to always obey safety rules and regulations to avoid carnage in the waters.

By: Chinedu Wosu

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Maritime

JTF Nabs Two Pirates In Rivers

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In a bid to sanitise the Nigeria’s waterways and make it safe and secure, the Joint Military Taskforce (JTF), code named “Operation Delta Safe,” has apprehended two pirates who specialise in terrorising the waterways in Rivers communities
Also in the soldiers’ custody are 10 suspected pipeline vandals in the Niger Delta region.
The arrests were made known  in a statement by Director, Defence Media Operations, Maj.-Gen. Bernard Onyeuko, shortly after a bi-weekly briefing of the Defence Headquarters in Abuja.
Onyeuko gave the identities of the suspected pirates as Fagha Golden (aka Fine Boy) and Victor Elkanah (aka Victor Padi).
The Director said Golden was apprehended at Nonwa village in Tai Local Government Area of Rivers State, while Elkanah was nabbed at Pharzy Spring Diagnostic and Wellness Hospital in Onne in Eleme Local Government Area of the State.
He said the suspects were  responsible for  series of armed attacks on oil vessels, kidnapping of expatriates and illegal oil bunkering in Rivers State.
He said the arrests show the unrelenting efforts of the troops, which “have sustained their offensive posture to deny criminals the much- needed space for their illegal operations in Bayelsa, Delta and Rivers States. In the process, several illegal oil-refining sites were discovered and destroyed.
“These include 37 illegal refineries, 68 dugout pits, 188 storage tanks, 33 wooden boats”, he said.
Others include 16 pumping machines, one generator, one vehicle, 175 cooking ovens and 23 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition.  Also recovered were 3.7 million litres of crude oil and 2.01 million litres of AGO.

By: Chinedu Wosu

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