The Nigerian Ports Authority NPA, has said that its decisión to acquire four new high potency tug boats was primarily informed by the need to reposition the seaports for greater operational efficiency.

Managing Director of the authority, Ms. Hadiza Usman, who spoke in Lagos yesterday at the official commissioning of the tug boats, also said that they will enhance safety and security at the nation’s seaports.

The tug boats christened MT. Daura, MT. Ubima, MT. Uromi and MT. Majiya are 60 tonne-Bollard equipment, capable of performing multiple functions which include fire fighting, search and rescue capabilities, among others.

The MD also said the commissioning of the tug boats was in addition to enhancing port efficiency, would also meet stakeholders’ expectations in the shipping industry.

She therefore sought the support and collaboration of stakeholders in the industry help the Federal Government to diversify the economy.

“NPA is fulfilling its obligations to manage the 13.5 metres Lagos channels to address challenges in the port business in partnership with the Lagos Channel Management Company LCM, about 100 critical wrecks have been removed in the Lagos channels since the partnership with LCM began years ago”.

“This is indeed a milestone in the efforts to improve Port efficiency, safety of navigation and in order to boost the good fortune of the Organization and the community at large”, she said.

It was however gathered that the partnership with LCM has also helped to bring the depth of the channels to more than 13.5 metres, which facilitated the berthing of the biggest of the WAFMAX series of vessels at the Lagos Ports.

Explaining some of the functions of the tug boats, the MD said she helps bigger vessels attain easy maneuvering and berthing at the quays, as the pilot takes the vessels through.

In her goodwill message, the distinguished Senator, Mrs Binta Masi Garba affirmed that commissioning 4 tug boats in one day was laudable and that the National Assembly would do everything to support what the NPA is doing since it would help to improve the economy of the nation especially in the present situation.

In her own speech, the President of Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry LCCI, Mrs Adenike Akande while acknowledging that Nigerian women are doing well, commended the NPA MD for achieving so much within a short period.

Also speaking at the event, the General Manager, Monitoring and Compliance, Western Ports of the NPA, Capt. Iheanacho Ebubeogu stated that the tug boats were being commissioned and deployed to expedite voyage to and from the sea in line with changing transport dynamics.

He further revealed that the NPA maintains tier-2 status in line with MARPOL convention with the capability to arrest pollution before they spread to other areas of concerns to delight of Stakeholders. Ebubeogu said the tugs could be used to, amongst other functions, salvage ships which go aground.

In his speech, the chairman of the NPA Board of Directors, Mr. Emmanuel Olajide Adesoye extolled the Management for doing a” fantastic job” in launching the boats. He disclosed that the tugs are expected to enhance the revenue position of the Authority and urged the organisation to ensure that Nigeria develops the capacity to build our own likes in the next five years.

In his remarks, the Flag Officer Commanding (FOC) Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral F.D. Bobai congratulated the NPA for the feat and called for greater synergy with the Navy especially in the training of Dock Masters and future Managers of the crafts.

The very memorable event was witnessed by top Management of the Organization, the Executive Directors Marine and Operations, Dr. Sokonte Huttin Davies, Engineering and Technical Services, Professor Idris Abubakar and Finance and Administration, Mohammed Bello Koko.

Stakeholders who congratulated the NPA for this achievement included the MD, PTOL, Mrs Lizzy Obvude, the representative of the DG NIMASA, ED Finance and Administration, Mr. Bashir Jamoh.

Also present at the launch were Barrister Mrs. Constance Harry Onukwagha, Chief (Dr.), among others.