Warri — A group of local marine pilots under the aegis of Escravos Ship Pilots Nigeria Limited has expressed concern over the absence of tug boats in the pilotage district, a development that is currently staling shipping activities in that area.
In a letter of appeal, signed by one of the members, Captain Charlie Tobi, and addressed to the Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, the group said that the contract for the supply of the tug boats has been awarded but they were yet to be supplied.
Speaking on the development, Tobi said that there was no single tug boat in the whole of Delta Pilotage district and the absence of a tug boat is hindering berthing and sailing of vessels in and out of the Escravos channel.
Tobi explained that local pilots are the ones having challenges to move vessels through the channel without having the vessels run aground.
He also disclosed that the absence of tug boats in the district has led to minor accidents in the area adding that bigger vessels now call at the Delta port adding that tug boats were needed to push them along side, to turn them around and pull them out of the jetties.
He said: “We are the ones having challenges of shipping activities at the Delta Pilotage District.
“There was an accident last month when a vessel hit a Naval vessel along the channel and that vessel was detained for almost a month.
“Some pilots sometimes refuse to sail without tug boats because it is dangerous to do so without a tug boat
“We need a tug in Koko, one in Sapele because big vessels now come to Sapele port and about two tug boats in Warri ports.”
When contacted, the contractor who has been awarded the contract to supply the tug boats one Mr. King Wale asked our Correspondent how he got his number saying that “Today is Sunday why are you calling me on a Sunday, Please respect my peace you can call some other time. ”