The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has launched 2 bollard pull tug boats to support the operations of the Lekki Deep Seaport and expand Nigeria’s prospect of participating in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
Dr. Magdalene Ajani, Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Transportation, while commissioning the boats described NPA as the first in Africa to acquire the 2813 model of Damen’s ASD neoteric 80 Tons Bollard Pull Tugboats.
The NPA, according to her, has accentuated the determination of the Transport Ministry to boost port operational efficiency and optimize the opportunities inherent in the AfCFTA) agreement, to which Nigeria is a signatory.
Ajani said: “Maximizing the comparative advantages that our maritime assets as a littoral nation confers rests heavily on how much we are able to deepen our efficiencies through the deployment of relevant technology and equipment.
“I particularly want to commend the NPA Management team for delivering on this project in good time to support the optimization of the Lekki Deep Seaport. This is the kind of efficiency that the Ministry supports its agencies to entrench in the polity and I am happy that we are making progress” she said
Mohammed Bello-Koko, Managing Director of NPA said that the tug boats deployment to use is part of the fulfillment of NPA service charter to provide relevent marine crafts to support port security, patrol, survelliance and most importantly, deliver excellent marine services especially with the commencement of operations of Nigeria’s first Deep Seaport, the Lekki Deep Seaport.
He added that NPA’s determination to continuously enhance its operational efficiencies accounts for the purchase of the tug boats to complement it’s existing fleet of tugs and recently commissioned Security Patrol Boats (SPBs) and Pilot Cutters deployed to enhance channel security across all port locations.
Explaining the technical capabilities of the crafts, Bello-Koko said: “These neoteric 80ton tugboats are the first of the 2813 Azimuth Stern Drive (ASD) Model in Africa constructed by the world’s leading ship builders (Damen) and they possess exceptional Seakeeping Behavior, Superb Manoeuvrability of 360° using the Azimuth Thrusters, fire-fighting capability and Outstanding Towing Characteristics which will enhance the maneuvering of large capacity vessels of 300 Metres LOA and above presently calling at our Ports.
“Imbued by our corporate aspiration of attaining hub status by more efficiently servicing domestic cargo needs, winning back transit cargo hitherto lost to our maritime neighbours and positioning to cater to the maritime requirements of our landlocked neighbours, we have deployed a three-pronged strategy driven by people technology, infrastructure and equipment such as the state-of-the-art vessels we are gathered here to commission today.
“In addition to positively affecting the turnaround time of large vessels, their deployment will enable stakeholders leverage the concomitant benefits of economies of scale, especially cost savings.
“Our drive towards deploying Lekki Deep Seaport as launch pad for transshipment remains unwavering and this event today is confirmation of our doggedness on this noble cause”.
Also speaking at the event, Lawrence Smith, Chief Operating Officer of Lekki Deep Seaport described the deep seaport as a standard bearer for port operation in West Africa.
Smith added that the NPA has consistently shown commitment to Lekki Port success and lauded the state of the art tugs as having the highest pulling capacity in West Africa.