• Govt procures vessels, boats to checkmate crude oil theft, piracy on Nigerian waters
Wednesday, 01 August 2012
THE Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) may take delivery of three vessels with which to monitor the lifting of crude oil from all terminals, in the attempt to get accurate record of crude oil sales in the country, before the end of the year.
The vessels are expected to be positioned, on delivery, offshore to take accurate record of crude oil loading and record of refined petroleum products that are imported into the country.
The plan to procure the vessels is coming on the heels of the delivery of four patrol boats for effective patrol of the country’s waterways and to control all criminal activities, including oil theft, within the nation’s territorial waters
With the procurement, safety on the Nigerian coastal and territorial waters is expected to be enhanced by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) which is also planning to procure and take delivery of eight more patrol boats for the same purpose before the end of the year. The boats were procured under safety concession contract awarded to Global West Vessel Specialist (GWVS) early this year.
According to the agency’s Director-General, Mr. Ziakede Patrick Akpobolokemi, who test-run the platforms recently, the boats were of high standards and one of the fastest moving boats in Nigeria. The boats: NIMASA Burutu, NIMASA Port-Harcourt, NIMASA Lagos and NIMASA Warri were specifically built to withstand any adverse effect and tropical weather, hence their suitability for the control of piracy and illegal activities in the country’s territorial waters.
Akpobolokemi said that the boats would help the agency to fulfill one of its mandates by ensuring that the country’s waters were safe for navigation.
On the speed capacity of the boats, the NIMASA boss explained that they have the ability to perform 50 nautical miles per hour. “The boats, as far as I am concerned, with the experience I got in the test-run and with the comments, observations and feelings from the user department they are in conformity with our standards. The boats are just to go back to our mandate; we want to perform our statutory obligation. What NIMASA Act has told us to do is what we want to put into practice, from environment to safety and safety to security.
“This is just the beginning of more and more vessels of different configurations that will come. As for the cost, it is the private company that will know how much they have invested in it,” Akpobolokemi added.
Speaking on the specification of the boats, Chief Executive Officer/Managing Director, GWVL, Capt. Romeo Itima(recently deceased), said that each of the boat had four outboard engines, each with 300 horsepower, and totalling 1200 horsepower.
He explained that the engines and bodies of the boats were bulletproof, making them difficult for pirates to target the crew onboard. Itima added that each of the boats could do 200 nautical miles before refuelling and that they were equipped with state-of-art technological facilities.
The GWVL boss promised that his company would soon take delivery of 16 other boats under the contract with NIMASA. The boats, he said that were being constructed in different parts of the world. According to him, the boats were billed to arrive the country before the end of September