As part of its effort to tackle the dearth of manpower which has been stunting shipping development in Nigerian maritime industry, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has perfected plans to allocate the sum of N58.7 billion for building of a shipyard in the country.
Of this amount, the agency said the sum of N40.2 billion was set aside in its budget for the construction of the equipment, structures, ancillary buildings and electro-mechanical work facilities in the ship building and dockyard facility. This aspect of the construction work, which has been awarded to Nairda Limited, is expected to be delivered within 36 months (three years) of commencement of the process.
The remaining N18.5 billion, the agency said, was earmarked for the financing of the civil and infrastructure construction works. The project is to be handled by Mangrovetech Construction Engineering Nigeria Limited and would be delivered within a period of 34 months (two years and 10 months).
Patrick Akpobolokemi, director general of NIMASA, told the members of the Senate Committee on Marine Transport who were on oversight visit to the agency recently that the ship building yard, which would be situated at Okerenkoko in Delta State, would be built alongside the proposed Maritime University Okerenkoko.
BusinessDay gathered that the shipyard, when completed, would be utilised in training cadets from the Maritime University, especially those who would major in Naval Architecture and Naval Engineering.
â€œIn 2015, we would go far with the building of structures for the university because NIMASA is currently spending largely on training cadets abroad under the Nigerian Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP), in which the agency has about 2,500 cadets studying in different maritime schools abroad,â€ said the NIMASA boss.
Building the maritime university, he assured, would allow the agency to train more cadets than the number already benefitting from the current training intervention of the agency, all geared towards filling the manpower gap in the industry.
â€œWe believe that in the next 10 years, Nigeria must have overcome the challenges of manpower supply. This is why the agency is looking at achieving a long-term goal and legacy like building a maritime university and a shipyard,â€ he said.
This move by the agency is in line with the provisions of the Coastal and Inland Shipping Act of 2003 (Cabotage Act), which states that a cabotage vessel must be built, owned, registered and crewed by Nigerians. As stated in the Act: â€œA vessel other than a vessel wholly owned and manned by a Nigerian citizen, built and registered in Nigeria shall not engage in the domestic coastal carriage of cargo and passengers within the coastal, territorial, and inland waters, island or any point within the waters of the exclusive economic zone of Nigeria.â€
Source: Business DayÂ