Two new multi-million-dollar tugboats, MT Musawa and MT Ikoro-Ekiti, purchased by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) have been inaugurated.
They were inaugurated by Rotimi Amaechi, minister of transport, on Friday.
At the event, which took place at the Dockyard, Apapa, Hadiza Bala Usman, managing director of the NPA, said the equipment would boost the capacity of the ports to receive and berth larger container vessels, in accordance with consultations with stakeholders over the past couple of years.
She added that the NPA would remain committed to the continuous upgrade of facilities and equipment at the ports as this was the only way to enhance service delivery and make the ports competitive.
“We know that towage is a critical part of our mandate and we recognised stakeholders’ contribution and comments on the need for us to provide the necessary equipment required,” she said.
“As a result, the Authority is committed to the continuous upgrade of facilities and equipment that will enhance service delivery.
“This commitment is to ensure that all the six seaports are prepared for optimal performance at all times. It also accounts for the purchase of these new tugboats, MT Musawa & MT Ikoro-Ekiti joining our other fleet of four namely: MT Daura, MT Ubima, MT Uromi and MT Majiya, which were commissioned in 2017.”
The minister explained that the Damen’s 2810 model tugboats will aid the manoeuvring of vessels to berth and unberth, improve the turnaround time of vessels as well as the firefighting capacity at the ports.
She thanked President Muhammadu Buhari, Amaechi and the federal executive council for the support the NPA has received and promised to work alongside the board, management and staff of the NPA to reposition the ports for greater efficiency.
In his address, the minister of transportation said the federal government places a lot of importance on the ports, adding that the fact that the ports have remained opened in spite of the global lockdown in the light of the coronavirus pandemic, is enough to show the importance of the maritime sector.
“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,” Amaechi said.
“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 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 thirty-six state capitals with the federal capital, Abuja with standard gauge rail services.”
Akin Ricketts, chairman of the NPA governing board, expressed the board’s readiness to work on ensuring efficiency at the ports.
He added that the inauguration of MT Musawa and MT Ikoro-Ekiti is a step in this direction.
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