*May restrict Egina FPSO’s access to Nigerian waterways
30 December 2017, Sweetcrude, Lagos — The Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, has suspended service boat operations in all its pilotage districts until the full settlement of debts accruing from unpaid pilotage dues by international oil companies, IOCs and other beneficiaries of the services.
The management of the agency also said that it may prevent Egina FPSO, which is due to arrive Nigeria in January 2018 from accessing the Nigerian waters.
A statement signed by Abdullahi Goje, the General Manager, Corporate and Strategic Communications at the authority disclosed that the decision to stop the operations of service boats to debtor companies followed the failure and refusal of the affected companies to honour their obligations to the Authority in spite of several reminders over a couple of months.
Some of the affected companies are indebted to the NPA to the tune of tens of millions of dollars outstanding for over two years and have ignored the advice given by the NPA. The statement explained that the Authority had no choice than to pursue this course of action, which has been communicated to all companies concerned.
On the Engina FPSO, whose main component is currently sailing from South Korea for the integration of its topside being fabricated at LADOL Free Trade Zone, Tarkwa Bay, the statement explained that the refusal of the parties involved in the project to request for towage and pilotage service from the NPA, (being the only organisation empowered to provide same in the country), is contrary to the laws of the country and would be resisted.
It explained that notice has already been given to promoters of the FPSO to the effect that the vessel would not be granted access to Nigerian waters and that the NPA would pursue legal remedies in its determination to ensure that no organisation impedes the mandate of the NPA as provided in Part II of the Port Act.
The promoters of the Egina FPSO, it was gathered have already contracted the pilotage service of the vessel to another company, a move the NPA management is vehemently opposed to.
A source at Samsung Heavy Industries in Nigeria said that the NPA does not have the capacity to handle a vessel of such magnitude.
It was also learnt that the NPA refused to attend a simulation exercise of the vessel in the United Kingdom despite the fact that it was invited.