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FG Unveils Tugboats At Dangote Refinery, Lekki Seaport

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The Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Mr. Adegboyega Oyetola, on Thursday, inaugurated two newly acquired 80 tons of bollard pull tugboats deployed to enhance the berthing of vessels at the Dangote Refinery and Lekki Deep Seaport.

Speaking during the inauguration in Apapa, Lagos, Oyetola said that the boats which have been christened MT Iragbiji, and Mt Bama, are expected to support port security, patrol, and surveillance.

He also said that the boats would help deliver efficient pilotage and towage services, adding that it will enhance cargo evacuation at the Lekki Ports corridor.

Oyetola added that the acquisition of the marine craft was a step towards enhancing port efficiency and strengthening Nigeria’s position as a leading maritime nation in the region.

“By acquiring these modern marine crafts, we are reaffirming our commitment to maximise the opportunities presented by the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement,” Oyetola said.

According to him, the present administration is committed to investing in developing the nation’s maritime assets.

The former Osun State Governor stated that the ministry recognises the critical role that efficient port operations play in accelerating economic growth stressing that the ministry will do all that is required to update the existing facilities.

“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,” Oyetola said.

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

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 were commissioned

He maintained that the acquisition of the marine craft was 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.

“The marine crafts would be deployed to serve operations at the Lekki corridor,” Bello-Koko said.

The NPA MD stated that the corridor has become a hub for actualizing 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,”

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

Bello-Koko commended the minister for the continuous support that enabled the Ports Authority to enhance its operational efficiencies.

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

According to him, the collaboration between Customs and NPA has started yielding good fruits such that the NPA and the NCS were recently ranked high by the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council in line with the vision of the present administration to reposition the Nigerian maritime sector.

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

The Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, Dr. Dayo Mobereola, lauded the NPA and Minister of the Marine and Blue Economy for the leading role played in driving efficient service delivery in the nation’s port industry.

He said trade facilitation comes with efficiency and only efficient service delivery would enable Nigeria to regain cargo lost to neighbouring West African ports

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