21 January 2014, Lagos – The Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Limited (NLNG) has blamed its inability to meet its target of 325-cargo shipments last year on its feud with the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).
During the dispute, which arose from the alleged non-payment of levy by NLNG, NIMASA bloked the firm’s channel in Bonny, Rivers State, stopping it from exporting 45 cargoes of gas.
NLNG’s Head, Gas supply Emmanuel Nnabuife said the blockade affected business, promising to make up for it this year.
The firm, he said, would meet the 325-cargo target this year, barring any unforeseen hitch, noting that despite last year’s problem, NLNG paid $140 million levy to NIMASA.
He put the plant’s availability last year at 94 per cent just as in 2012 when it achieved cargo production of 333, the highest in NLNG’s history. Nnabuife, however, said the plant’s utilisation was less because of feedstock issues.
NLNG, he said, had 24 LNG ships under its control, adding that it owns 13 while 11 are on long-term charter. The firm plans to buy six new ships between now and 2016 at an estimated cost of over $1.408 billion.
These vessels would help create jobs for trained cadets, seafarers as well as captains and engineers, among others workers, he said.
He said part of NLNG’s intervention in capacity building was the award of scholarships to 26 cadets in the Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN) in Oron, Akwa Ibom State.
H said: “NLNG continues to support Nnabuife to train manpower for the industry. Warsash Maritime Academy, Southampton was engaged to review MAN’s Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW) 95 courses. Warsash Maritime Academy is also required to facilitate the accreditation of MAN’s issuance of MCA approved certificates. STCW enables Nigerian seafarers get placement on both Nigerian and foreign flagged vessels.”
When contacted, NIMASA spokesman Mr. Isichei Osamgbi, said the agency would not want to comment because the case is still in court. He said: “I will not make any comment on that issue because the case is still in court and any comment we make on that matter will be prejudicial.”
– The Nation