Nigeria lacks capacity to drydock our vessels – NLNG alleges
Solomon Nzeme, Lagos
No Nigerian dockyards has capacity to dry dock any of Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) vessels, Abdul-Kadri Ahmed, the Managing Director of NLNG Ship Management Limited (NSML), the vessel management company of NLNG has revealed.
He made this known in Lagos at the weekend when he was inspecting the company’s facility.
Based on the guidelines by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), every vessel must undergo dry-docking once every three years in order to retain its safety classification and insurance cover. It costs between $300,000 and $500,000 to dry-dock a vessel, according to prevailing international rates.
Meanwhile, Ahmed has revealed that lack of capacity and availability of requisite dry-docking facilities in Nigeria have made the company take its vessels abroad for dry-docking at huge foreign exchange.
He said the development has resulted in the loss of several billions of Naira to capital flight as a result of this .
Ahmed further stated that his company would have wanted to dry-dock its 11 LNG vessels and one LPG vessel in Nigeria due to the huge revenue this would generate revenue for the country, but lamented there is no such dry-docking facility that can handle an LNG vessel in the country.
This, he said, has compelled the company to dry-dock her vessels outside the country.
“Capital flight is an issue when it comes to dry docking of our LNG vessels. However, underpinning that issue of capital flight is the capacity and ability to do it here in Nigeria.
“As a Nigerian ship management company, it’s so much easier for me to dry-dock our vessels here in Nigeria, that is if there is anywhere I can do it but, at the moment, there is no facility in Nigeria that can dry-dock vessels of the sizes that we manage.
“I don’t want to sound critical but realistic, there is currently no facility in Nigeria that can handle any of our LNG vessels.
“I am not saying there are no dry-docking facilities in Nigeria but, if you understand the nature and size of an LNG vessel, then we will all know that there is nowhere in Nigeria that such vessels can be dry-docked as at today,” he concluded.
Ahmed however disclosed that the company planned to set up standard dry-docking facilities in the country to put an end to capital flight that is occasioned by dry-docking vessels outside Nigeria.
“But, most importantly, underpinning ability is capacity development, and we have already embarked on that path.
“As part of our Bonny Gas Transport (BGT) Plus Project, there was a scheme to bring in Samsung and Hyundai together with some Nigerian investors to establish a dry-docking facility in Nigeria. Unfortunately, the scheme has not fully taken off, but we are still optimistic.
“We hope that when it fully takes off, it will commence effectively at the right standard.
“We are optimistic that this happens because as a Nigerian company, it is cheaper and more affordable for us to patronize dry-docking facilities in country.
The Managing Director of NLNG Ship Management Limited (NSML), therefore challenged stakeholders to join NLNG, in efforts to develop local capacity for dockyard.