Lagos — The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, says it is committed to ensuring the availability of low-sulphur bunker fuel as it prepares the country for enforcement of the International Maritime Organization, IMO, convention on 0.5 percent bunker fuel comes into force.
Speaking in Lagos at the opening of a two-day meeting of the agency with modular and other refinery operators and fuel oil suppliers in the country, NIMASA Executive Director, Operations, Mr. Ahmed Shehu, said that non-availability of low sulphur fuel has become an issue as the supplies source it from outside the the country.
Shehu said that NIMASA will ensure availability of the fuel in Nigeria in line with IMO sulphur content specification of 0.5 percent in collaboration with modular refinery operators, tank farm owners, bunker fuel suppliers and all other relevant industry stakeholders.
The executive director, who was represented by the Director of Marine Environment Management Department, Mr. Isa Mudi, said NIMASA was mulling sanctions for erring ship owners and operators who may fall foul of the convention when its implementation commences.
Meanwhile, an official of a modular refinery in the Niger Delta region, Mr. Mayowa Bolade, said that his company has the capacity to produce 11,000 barrels of low sulphur fuel per day and called on the management of NIMASA to liaise with other operators of modular refineries to aggregate the production of this category of fuel to meet the needs of suppliers of bunkers to vessels.
Bolade, of the Niger Delta Refinery, said the plant can produce 0.2 percent low sulphur fuel, which is lower than the recommended IMO 0.5 percent.
Similarly, Engr. Babajide Soyode, Technical Consultant to Dangote Refinery, said the refinery will meet the demand for the low sulphur fuel provided that there is a ready market to take what is produced. Soyode said: “We have capacity to produce 5,000 tons of low sulphur fuel on demand.”