30 August 2012, Sweetcrude, WARRI – MARINE pilots operating in the Escravos Channel have decried faulty and wrong positioning of the fair way buoys on the channel, a development they said can lead to ship running aground and cause other marine accidents.
In an exclusive chat with Sweetcrude, Captain Solomon Prebo said that the current position of the buoys are misleading, and this can make an inexperienced pilot make mistakes that could run a vessel aground.
He said that complaints have been lodged before the management of the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, on the development but nothing has been done to correct the anormally .
In a sharp reaction to the pilots claim, NPA’s General Manager in charge of marine operations, Captain Ihenacho Ebubeogu, castigated who ever that made such claim, saying “these buoys were laid only two weeks ago and they are still being observed.”
Ebubeogu stated that the buoys were laid because the Escravos breakwaters were falling and navigational aids were put there to assist the pilots and other water crafts.
He explained that because the equipment had to be observed for six months, five percent of the contractor’s fee has to be withheld until it is sure that a perfect job has been done.
He said that to ensure that the buoys were properly laid and positioned, one of the pilots accompanied the contractor to lay the equipment.
He said ” one or two of the buoys may have shifted position; that does not mean that they were not well positioned.
“Besides the Harbour Master has not reported any faulty buoy to management. If the pilots have any report to make, they know the proper channel to pass their message across.
” The Harbour Master has not given report of the entire exercise because it has to be observed before we can say that all is well with what has been done.
“This not a union matter, we operate international business; these buoys were laid in conjunction with local pilots and the Harbour Master has not received any report to that effect.
“This is water , there could be some hydro-dynamic effects in the course of observation.”
Maritime analysts are of the opinion that if there are problems in the Escravos area with regards to laying of buoys, it could lead to serious economic consequence.