The Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission, ICRC, has issued a Certificate of Compliance for an outline Business Case (OBC) for the operation of the Modular Floating Dockyard acquired by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA. Acting Director General of the commission, Mr. Michael Ohiani, led a team of ICRC officers to the NIMASA headquarters in Lagos to present the certificate. NIMASA boss said that the facility will assist his agency deal with the challenge of managing discharges of ballast water.
Ohiani said the agency’s outline business case for the Modular Floating Dockyard’s management contract to be operated, maintained, and transferred under a Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement was in compliance with the ICRC Act 2005 and the National Policy on Public Private Partnership.
This is just as NIMASA said Nigeria is taking proactive steps to address its exposure to the threat of ballast water because of the high tanker traffic in its waters.
Speaking while receiving the Certificate of Compliance, Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, said the Modular Floating Dockyard was a national asset. Dr. Jamohassured that the Agency was committed to the careful deployment of the dry dock in line with relevant regulatory instruments to ensure wealth creation, job creation, and revenue generation for the Federal Government.
He also said issues, such as security, accessibility, and existing complimentary infrastructure on ground, were considered in the development of a business case for the dockyard, which will be managed on a PPP basis with NIMASA and the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), on the one hand, and a management company, on the other. ICRC would monitor the entire implementation process to ensure equity, fairness, and profitability for the Federal Government.
Jamoh stated, “It is one thing to have the Modular Dockyard, and another for it to enjoy patronage and be a profitable venture for government. So many funds have been invested in the project and it cannot serve just as a workshop for an institution of learning, as being inferred in some quarters.
“Detailed investigation has also confirmed that the dockyard cannot berth at an area earlier proposed for it. We got approval from our supervising ministry to deploy the asset on a PPP basis and we are working in conjunction with the Nigerian Ports Authority. Our arrangement to utilize facilities at the Continental Shipyard in Apapa is still very much on course.”
Ohiani stated, “The project is bankable and sustainable. The Nigerian government will get value for money in the project. The next step is to get the best concessioner to provide the services and a full business case will be prepared and taken to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for approval.
“ICRC will continue to manage the process and we hope to conclude the entire process before the end of the year. We will also ensure that the concessioner does not charge arbitrary fees when it becomes operational. It is a total package we are delivering to Nigerians and we seek their understanding and patience.”
Meanwhile, speaking at the 10th Meeting of the National Taskforce (NTF) on Implementation of Ballast Water Management (BWM) Convention, 2004 Jamoh said, being an oil producing country, Nigeria was prone to the effects of harmful aquatic organisms transported across regions by tankers. He said NIMASA, the Lead Agency for the implementation of international conventions, codes, and regulations of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), had in conjunction with other members of the NTF set up a plan for full implementation of the BWM Convention in the country.
Jamoh who was represented by the Director, Marine Accident Investigation Unit, Mrs Rita Egbuche, stated, “As an oil producing country, we recognize the country’s susceptibility to the danger of ballast water and we have put processes and actions in place to deal with the threat in line with the resolutions of the International Maritime Organization (IMO). We would continue to update and fine-tune our strategies as new developments emerge.
Ballast water discharges by ships can have a negative impact on the marine environment. The discharge of ballast water and sediments by ships is governed under the Ballast Water Management Convention, since its entry into force in September 2017. It is also controlled through national regulations, which may be different from the convention.