By Gboyega Oni
The hope of LADOL Free Trade Zone having its Engina FPSO having a smooth cruize on Nigerian waterways this January may be dashed as the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has given an indication that it might prevent it (Engina FPSO) from accessing the waterways because the parties involved refused to take permission from NPA.
The development emerged from a statement issued by Abdullahi Goje, General Manager, Corporate & Strategic Communication, NPA.
He noted that NPA has suspended boat operations in all its pilotage district over unpaid dues by international oil companies (IOCs) and other beneficiaries of the services and the Engina, which is due to arrive Nigeria in January, 2018, would be affected because its promoters violated the NPA guidelines on pilotage operations.
According to the release, “the decision to stop the operation of service boats to debtor companies followed the failure and refusal of the affected companies to honour their obligations to the Authority in spite of several reminders over a couple of months to this effect.
“Given the fact that the companies some of whose indebtedness run into tens of millions of dollars outstanding for over two years ignored the advice given by the NPA, the statement explained that the Authorityhad no choice than to pursue this course of action, which has been communicated to all companies concerned.
“On the Engina FPSO, whose main component is currently sailing from South Korea to be coupled with its top side being fabricated at LADOL Free Trade Zone, Tarkwa Bay, the statement explained that the refusal of the parties involved in the project to request for towage and pilotage service from the NPA, (being the only organisation empowered to provide same in the country), is contrary to the laws of the country and would be resisted.”
NPA said notice had already been given to promoters of the FPSO to the effect that the vessel would not be granted access to Nigeria’s waterways and that the NPA would pursue legal remedies in its determination to ensure that no organisation impedes on the mandate of the NPA as provided in Part II of the Port Act.