Nigeria Renews Efforts on Removal of Wrecks
$30b Steel Recycling Oppurtunities Await Investors
Nigeria’s Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Amaechi, has flagged off the National Wreck Removal exercise in Lagos, with a declaration that the maritime sector was being opened up for greater investment opportunities with the exercise.
Amaechi extolled the Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Bashir Jamoh, for the initiative, saying, “This creative venture of clearing our waters of wrecks and derelicts, apart from guaranteeing better safety of navigation, opens up the prospects of huge investments, jobs and wealth in the maritime industry.
According to the Minister “This would tremendously help the Federal Government’s economic diversification drive and enhance Nigeria’s standing within the global maritime community.”
He emphasized the autonomous status of each of the agencies under the Federal Ministry of Transportation, stating that all the heads of the agencies are appointed on the basis of competence and expertise. He said he would always support creative and imaginative ideas from the Chief Executives.
In his remarks, Jamoh said the successful removal of the wrecks and derelicts would restore confidence in Nigerian waters, eliminate obstacles and ensure smooth, safe, and profitable navigation. He thanked the Minister for pushing the wreck removal idea through the Federal Executive Council (FEC).
The NIMASA Boss said the commencement of the wreck removal exercise was another milestone in the incremental achievement of the Triple S strategy of the current Management of NIMASA, anchored on Maritime Safety, Maritime Security, and Shipping Development.
In his words “These wrecks inhibit the operation of shipping companies, which constantly strive to increase efficiency in order to remain in business. As a result, most of the shipping companies usually avoid operating or investing in areas where navigational hazards are identified due to high insurance premium charges.”
He added that with the elimination or reduction of the costs associated with insurance, survey and charting of wrecks, the cost of shipping would drop, to the benefit of mariners and other stakeholders in the maritime industry.
“It is pertinent to state that the benefits that would be derived upon completion of the exercise extend to other areas of maritime core functions, such as search and rescue services, Cabotage monitoring, as well as prevention and mitigation of marine pollution.” Jamoh stressed
NIMASA is charged with the responsibility of ensuring safety and security at sea as well as regulating the maritime industry in line with international laws and conventions, principally, the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Convention of the International Maritime Organization (IMO).
“In line with this mandate and in recognition of the importance of safety of navigation in Maritime Administration, the Agency has established the need for removal of critical wrecks along the Badagry Creek,” the Director General said.
Jamoh had disclosed during a Ministerial Retreat organized by the Federal Ministry of Transportation (FMOT) in August that arrangements had been concluded for the recycling of wrecks and derelicts that would be recovered during the wreck removal exercise.
He disclosed then that it would be done in partnership with the Bayelsa State Government and the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), which already has a Foundry in Lagos for wrecks recycling, with the ultimate aim of creating wealth from waste while providing jobs for Nigerians.
Managing Director of Ragi Industries Limited, Nasir Raji, whose company is into steel recycling informed stakeholder during the flag off wreck removal exercise that wrecks identified along Nigeria’s vast coastline on the West Coast of Africa between Latitude 4°10′ to 6°20′N and Longitude 2°45′ to 8°32′E; covering approximately 853 km are valued at over $30b.
The excitement this information elicited among maritime stakeholders indicates that the Nigerian Maritime sector holdss enormous wealth potential waiting to be harnessed.