LCM raises navigational safety on Lagos Channel

LCM raises navigational safety on Lagos Channel
… Dredges waters to 13.5m depth, removes 29 wrecks

The Lagos Channels Management Company Limited (LCM), a joint venture between the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and Deposa Marine International, has said that it has dredged the channel to the ports in Lagos to between 13 and 13.5 metres depth from their former seven to nine metres depth when the company took over this critical task in 2005.
While the NPA owns 60 per cent of the LCM, the foreign partner has the remaining 40 per cent.
Speaking yesterday in Apapa, Lagos, the LCM Managing Director, Mr. Danny Fuchs, said at the International Maritime Press Centre, during the Maritime Reporters’ Association of Nigeria (MARAN) Round Table, that the company has removed 29 out of the 31 wrecks identified in its operational area.
Represented by the Head of Human Resources, LCM, Prince Falade Oyekan, Fuchs said: “Until November 2012, we have removed 27 shipwrecks and currently working on two other wrecks that we identified as those that pose risk to the channel. The statutory duty to remove wrecks is with the Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), but, based on agreement between NPA and the agency, we are meant to remove wrecks on our contracted channels, as recommended by the NPA.”The LCM boss said: “When we took over in 2005, the highest depth along the buoy is between seven and nine metres, but now what we have is a minimum of 13.5 metres. In some areas, the channel is deeper than that, except around the quay wall, which is very a sensitive area to dredge. We are very careful when dredging around the quay wall, because, if you exceed the limit, the wall can collapse. This makes it less than 13 metres, for instance, around APMT Terminal (at the Lagos Port Complex).
“Around the Tin Can Port, we have berths that are nine and 14 metres. From the construction, we know the depth and its limitations, so we dredge to 13 or 13.5.”
On the operational capacity of the LCM, Fuchs explained that the company has in its fleet a total number of 14 dredgers, as well as other specialised vessels for effective service.
On controversies with award of contracts to the company by its parent company, the NPA, he posited that these contracts were advertised, with the company not being exceptional to the contracts.
“We have an independent body for the contracts. We bid like others, but the advantage we have is that we have been in the system and, so, people can see what we are doing. We bidded for a lot of contracts, which we didn’t win. Even the Calabar dredging contract that is having issues now, we won at initial stage but NPA was criticised for awarding the contract to a company in which it had interest and contract was given to another company. Today, we all know what happened next,” he said.