Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) on Friday commissioned two new tug boats it acquired to enhance efficiency in the delivery of its towage services.
The two new boats named MT Musawa and MT Ikoro-Ekiti with length overall of 28.67m, breath overall of 10.43m and 4. 90m drafts, were built by Damen Shipyard under Lloyds Classification Society standards and powered by twin MTU engines to attain a speed of 13.5knots.
The power delivered by the twin MTU engines enable the tugboats to produce 60 tonnes bollard pull ahead and 58.7 tonnes astern, for towing operations. They are also equipped to serve as fire-fighting machines.
MT Ikoro-Ekiti was christened by the Chairman, Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN), while MT Musawa was christened by the Chairman of Shipowners Forum, Barr. Margaret Onyema-Orakwusi.
Speaking at the commissioning ceremony in Apapa, Lagos, the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Ameachi, said the purchase of the new tugboats, amongst many other equipment that are in the works, is an indication of President Muhammadu Buhari administration’s seriousness about positioning the maritime sector to add greater value to the national economy.
He said, “If anyone was in doubt as to the importance of the maritime sector to Nigerian and global economy, the events of the past three months where ports across the world have remained open in spite of the comprehensive lockdown of virtually other sectors should instruct on why priority attention has to be given to the sector.
“Given government’s determination to develop other sectors of the national economy and reduce reliance on the oil and gas sector, we have identified the pivotal role that the maritime sector occupies in the actualisation of the fundamental objectives of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) of this administration.
“We understand that not less than 85 percent of the country’s external trade passes through the seaports and are committed to repositioning the ports for greater efficiency. The much talked about transition from a mono-product into a diversified economy is heavily dependent on how robust we can make our maritime space and we are committed to achieving this.
“As you are aware, work is ongoing on the President’s directive that all seaport locations must be linked up to the standard gauge rail line even as we are determined to link up the 36 state capitals with the Federal Capital, Abuja with standard gauge rail services.”
Amaech, who commended NPA for delivering on the project nine months ahead of schedule, said the acquisition of the tug boats further emphasized the determination of the NPA to increase operational efficiency.
Earlier in her address, Managing Director of NPA, Hadiza Bala Usman, reiterated the agency’s commitment to the continuous upgrade of facilities and equipment that will enhance service delivery and optimal performance of the nation’s seaports.
She said the tugboats will enhance the manoeuvring of large capacity vessels calling at the ports to berth and unberth and ultimately improve the turnaround time of vessels.
According to her, with the tug boats, joining the other fleet of four which were commissioned in 2017, vessel owners and concessionaires and other stakeholders will experience even better service delivery from the NPA.