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NPA commissions 3 new tugboats for operations at Dangote Refinery, Lekki Port

The Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Adegboyega Oyetola CON, has commissioned three newly acquired 80 tons bollard-pull tugboats tugboats deployed to enhance the berthing of vessels at the Dangote Refinery and Lekki Deep Seaport.

The tugboats christened MT IRAGBIJI, MT DAURA, and MT BAMA, are expected to support port security, patrol, and surveillance and to deliver efficient pilotage and towage services that would help the growing cargo evacuation needs of the Lekki maritime corridor.

Speaking at the commissioning in Lagos, Oyetola said the investment is a step towards enhancing port efficiency and strengthening Nigeria’s position as a leading maritime nation in the region.

“We recognise the critical role that efficient port operations play in accelerating economic growth and will do all that is required to update the existing facilities to deliver on this.

“By acquiring these modern marine crafts, we are reaffirming our commitment to maximise the opportunities presented by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement. We are determined to optimise our competitive edge as a littoral nation and deepen our efficiencies through the deployment of cutting-edge technology and equipment,” he said.

Earlier, the Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mr. Mohammed Bello-Koko, said the acquisition would enable the Ports Authority to attain a regional hub status by efficiently servicing domestic cargo needs, winning back transit cargo hitherto lost to maritime neighbours and positioning to cater to the maritime requirements of landlocked neighbours.

Bello-Koko said the NPA has deployed a three-pronged strategy driven by people; technology, infrastructure, and equipment such as the state-of-the-art vessels are were commissioned.

According to him, the acquisition of the marine craft is part of the fulfillment of NPA’s deliverables under the Presidential/Ministerial Performance Bond to optimise Nigeria’s marine and blue economy by providing relevant marine technology and equipment.

Pointing out that the marine crafts would be deployed to serve operations at the Lekki corridor, Bello-Koko said the corridor has become a hub for actualising Nigeria’s quest for self-sufficiency in energy, agricultural growth and trade transshipment capacity with the hosting of a 650,000 barrels-per-day Dangote Refinery, Africa’s largest granulated urea fertilizer complex and Nigeria’s first fully automated Deep Seaport, which can berth Super Post Panamax sized ships.

“Data from Dangote Petroleum Refinery and Petrochemicals shows that 120 tanker vessels have been handled in the six months from January – June 2024 with a projection for 415 between July to December, while Dangote Fertilizers have handled 17 fertilizer vessels with a projection for 41 in the corresponding period,

“We are by these commissioning and ancillary deployments putting mechanisms in place to cater for continuous increase going forward,” the NPA boss assured.

Also speaking, the Comptroller General of  Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Adewale Adeniyi MFR, said Customs has found it comfortable to work with the NPA to develop the export sector, automate Customs processes, decongest the port, and ensure port efficiency.

He assured that Customs  Service would do all within its capacity to remain on top of ease of doing business ranking for the growth of the maritime industry.

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