The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Marine Transport, Senator Ahmed Sani Yerima says the floating dockyard being built by the Nigeria Maritime Administration and safety Agency (NIMASA) will open new windows of job opportunities in the maritime industry in West Africa.
Senator Yerima who stated this when he led some members of the Committee to evaluate the extent of work on the floating Dockyard being built in Galati Romania, also observed that the opportunities will not only be limited to job creation or conservation of foreign exchange but will include capacity building and wealth creation in the industry.
He also said that with an average of 5000 ships calling at the Nigerian ports annually, 400 active coastal vessels and several fishing trawlers, the demand for ship repair and maintenance facilities can only be on the rise.
He lamented at the absence of modern functional floating dry docking facilities in the country which has forced ships, vessels to go overseas and undertake mandatory dry docking routine saying “the few land based dockyards in Nigeria are not even functioning optimally. Sometimes Nigerian ship owners have to go to neighbouring Cameroon to dry dock vessels paying in scarce foreign exchange”.
The Chairman of Senate Committee said the NIMASA floating dockyard will be the first comprehensive floating ship repair and maintenance facility in West Africa and will have the sub region as its primary market.
He advised NIMASA to target offshore and coastal vessels, and ships calling Nigerian ports, with a promise of legislative backing the Agency will need to be given by the National Assembly.
Senator Yerima commended the current leadership of NIMASA for being focused, ingenious and industrious. “Dr Peterside and his team have proven that they are tested managers of men and resources with a vision to put the maritime industry on the path of accelerated growth thus they will enjoy the support of patriotic citizens including this Senate Committee“.