Listen: Maritime Reality Check: NPA, Navy synergy improved security along port channel – Bello-Koko
… Hope of Bonny Deep Seaport approval bright
·NPA to purchase patrol boats
Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mohammed Bello-Koko, on Thursday gave assurances that security along the port channel from Bonny down to Onne Ports is adequately taken care of with increased patrol by the Nigerian Navy, which is has been working in collaboration with the Authority.
Bello-Koko was responding to questions by the newsmen, about the state of security along the port channels as well as on issues pertaining to dredging challenges.
The NPA MD was part of the team of the Hon. Minister of Transportation, Mu’Azu Jaji Sambo, who is on tour of the Eastern Ports for an on-the-spot assessment of different operations and issues requiring administrative attention.
Speaking, Bello-Koko said: “In terms of security, working with the Nigerian Navy, we have increased patrol along the channel from Bonny down to Rivers and Onne Port also.
“Nigerian Ports Authority has also started the procurement process for the purchase of security patrol boats.”
He spoke on the reasons why the dredging had been difficult, saying: “The dredging of those berths like I mentioned; particularly, I am talking about the ones in Rivers Port.
“You cannot dredge those locations because of the draft limitation because of the construction model for those berths. The engineering design will not allow us to dredge more than that. And that is why we are expecting BUA to start the construction of their Beth. Hopefully that will enable us to dredge deeper.
On the Bonny Seep Seaport, the NPA MD expressed confidence that the Hon. Minister would secure the needed approval.
He said a new location with better draught of over 17 metres had been identified since the initial location had pipelines obstruction.
His words: “The Hon. Minister is looking into that. Some proponents came up with a proposal to kick off the construction of Bonny Deep Seaport. They have done the OBC and the FBC which have been looked at.
“But what happened is that the initial location that was identified had to be changed because of existing pipelines and so on. But another location has been identified and I think it has a natural draught of over 17 metres.
“The next thing is for the minister to sit down, look at it and then we determine the best option. There are various proponents interested in building that, but I am sure that it is on the front burner for him. You hear him mentioning the short term, medium and long term.
“For us in NPA and working in the ministry, the development of a deep seaport in this part of the country is very key. It means that you now have two deep seaports in the West; Lekki is already starting shortly. You have Badagry that has been approved by FEC.
“And then we hope that the Minister will get approval for Bonny Deep Seaport. So that means that the country has deep seaports at different locations of the country. And I am sure that within the timelines of the administration, Bonny Deep Seaport will be approved. The minister will definitely work on that.”