As the size and number of merchant ships continue to rise, the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), says it is ready to collaborate with the Nigerian Navy (NN), to localise training and capacity building on hydrographic survey.
NPA Managing Director Mohammed Bello-Koko disclosed this on Saturday in Lagos when he received the new Flag Officer Commanding (FOC), Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral Yakubu Wambai, who paid him a courtesy call.
A statement by Ibrahim Nasiru, NPA’s General Manager, Corporate and Strategic Communications, quoted the NPA helmsman as saying that the collaboration would enhance activities in the maritime sector and boost Nigeria’s economy.
While acknowledging the cordial relationship between the two organisations spanning over a century, Bello-Koko assured the new FOC of NPA’s unflinching co-operation in the task of protecting the nations’ waterways against inland and coastal threats to safe navigation.
“The NPA will continue to render the required assistance whenever the need arises,” he assured the FOC.
The NPA boss appreciated the role played by the Command with respect to the “360 Degrees Security Exercise” that was recently carried out to remove all physical contraptions and unscrupulous human elements identified as security threat around the seaports in Lagos.
He informed the FOC that a repeat of the exercise would take place in the nearest future, adding that NPA would continue to work jointly with the Command in keeping the port access corridors safe from all types of threats.
Bello-Koko applauded the Nigerian Navy on the delivery and inauguration of “NNS LANA”, a modern purpose-built hydrographic research vessel, that would enable the NN perform missions such as oceanographic and hydrographic surveys.
Other missions include search and rescue, fishery survey and patrol in the exclusive economic zone of Nigeria.
He also commended the Navy for quality manpower development in hydrographic survey for the country.
While lamenting the dearth of qualified hydrographers in the NPA, he expressed optimism that partnering with the Nigerian Navy Hydrographic School would guarantee high level manpower at a lower cost, rather than send staff abroad for such training.
On the request for tug boats to support the NN in its operations, he explained that available options would be considered to assist, “although the NPA currently faces some constraints arising from its contractual relations with a third party service provider”.
On the issue of wrecks preventing access to the Defence Jetty along the Lagos Marina, Bello-Koko assured the FOC that NPA would liaise with the Nigerian Maritime Administration (NIMASA) for support to get the wrecks removed.
He added that the NPA would continue to facilitate berthing spaces for vessels arrested by order of the Court.
Earlier, the new FOC had described the courtesy visit to the NPA as customary and necessary to advance the strong bonds of partnership between the two institutions.
He expressed the Chief of Naval Staff’s deep appreciation to the NPA for the tremendous support provided the NN over the years in its quest to effectively safeguard the country’s territorial waters.
Wambai said that the support enjoyed by the NN from the NPA in the promotion of safety and security within the Nigerian waters led to the International Maritime Bureau’s recent declaration of Nigeria as a Piracy-Free Country, following no record of incidents at the nation’s port anchorage.
He equally thanked NPA for making available a land area at Takwa Bay for the Command’s operations.
“The support provided by the NPA under the Bello-Koko led Management is worthy of emulation,” he declared. (NAN)