NPA Laments Dearth of Qualified Hydrographers, Partners Nigerian Navy on Capacity Building

Muhammed Bello-Koko

Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mohammed Bello Koko has said that the agency is currently facing dearth of qualified hydrographers, even as he indicated readiness to partner Nigerian Navy in providing training for its staff.

Bello-Koko said his administration is ready to work collaboratively with the Nigerian Navy to localize modernize training and capacity building aspect of hydrographic survey, for the benefit of the nation’s maritime economy.

He made this promise when he received the new Flag Officer Commanding (FOC), Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral Y. B. Wambai, along with senior officers of the Command, on a courtesy visit to the Authority’s corporate headquarters, Lagos.

While acknowledging the long and cordial relations between the two organizations spanning over a century, Koko assured the new FOC West of the NPA’s unflinching co-operation in the task of protecting the nations’ waterways against inland and coastal threats to safe navigation. The NPA will continue to render the required assistance whenever the need arose, he assured.

The NPA MD expressed his Management’s appreciation for the role played by the Command with respect to the “360 Degrees Security Exercise” that was recently carried out to remove all physical contraptions and unscrupulous human elements identified as security threat around the seaports in Lagos. He informed the FOC that a repeat of the exercise is set to take place in the nearest future, adding that NPA would continue to work jointly with the Command in keeping the port access corridors safe from all types of threats.

Bello Koko applauded the Nigerian Navy on the delivery and commissioning of “NNS LANA”, a modern purpose-built hydrographic research vessel, that would enable the NN perform missions such as oceanographic survey, hydrographic survey, search and rescue (SAR), fishery survey and patrol in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of Nigeria. He also commended the Navy for quality manpower development in hydrographic survey for the country.

While lamenting the dearth of qualified hydrographers in the NPA, he expressed optimism that partnering with the Nigerian Navy Hydrographic School would guarantee high level manpower at a lower cost for the Authority, rather than send staff abroad for such training.

Responding to the request for tug boats to support the NN in some of their operations, Koko explained that available options would be considered to assist the Navy, although the NPA currently faces some constraints arising from its contractual relations with a third party service provider.

On the issue of wrecks preventing access to the Defence Jetty along the Lagos Marina, Koko assured the FOC that the Authority would liaise with the Nigerian Maritime Administration (NIMASA) for support to get the wrecks removed, just as the NPA would continue to facilitate berthing spaces for vessels arrested by order of the Court.

Earlier in his remarks, the new FOC West described the courtesy visit to the NPA as customary and necessary to advance the strong bonds of partnership between the two institutions. He expressed on behalf of the Chief of Naval Staff, deep appreciation to the NPA, for the tremendous support provided the NN over the years in its quest to effectively safeguard the country’s territorial waters.

Rear Admiral Wambai informed his host that the quality support enjoyed by the NN from organizations like the NPA in the promotion of safety and security within the Nigerian waters led to the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) recent declaration of Nigeria as a Piracy Free Country, following no record of incidents at the nation’s port anchorage.

He equally thanked the Authority for making available a land area at Takwa Bay for the Command’s operations. The support provided by the NPA under the Bello-Koko led Management is worthy of emulation, he enthused.

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