The marine logistics subsector is set for greater things. Two local firms have acquired five ships to boost their operations. The Ocean Marine Tanker (OMT) brought in two tankers, MT Abiola and MT Igbinosa; CNS Marine Nigeria Limited acquired three vessels – Adessa Ocean King, Adessa Legend, and Adessa Sea Protector.
While Ocean Marine vessels are for cargo, the CNS Marine’s are for offshore support and conveyance of personnel on offshore engagements. The vessels, according to the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), will benefit the country immensely, both in capacity development and job creation. The board has since its establishment, and passage of the Nigerian Content Act in 2010, been spearheading campaigns to promote ownership of vessels by Nigerian firms. It encourages banks to fund such projects to build in-country capacity.
The Executive Secretary, NCDMB, Ernest Nwapa, told The Nation that before the introduction of local content in 2006, over 95 per cent of the yearly budget in oil and gas industry, including maritime activities and logistics, was spent on foreign companies.
Nwapa identified the marine sector as one of such areas with high impact in employment, retention of industry spend, technology transfer and value added services. He said the Board has endeavoured to protect the sector, making it one of its focus of Nigerian Content Act implementation strategies.
He said the board stood against the issuance of Temporary Import Permit (TIP) for indigenous marine vessels, as it discourages indigenous ownership and registration of marine vessels in Nigeria, thereby conferring advantage to foreign vessel owners.
He stated Nigeria has lost over $100 billion in revenues in the last five decades to lifting and conveying of crude oil by foreign owned tankers, saying the trend is being reversed as Nigerian firms are increasingly getting involved in the subsector.
Nwapa explained that vessels owned by foreigners undergo repairs and maintenance work outside Nigeria, while Nigerians have the capacity to do the jobs, saying under the new development, such jobs would be carried out in-country in ship yards in Nigeria.
He said: “The TIP not only discouraged the ownership and registration of marine vessels in Nigeria, but also gives advantages to foreign vessel owners, who are allowed to pay a token to the government for bringing in their vessels. Furthermore, it promotes the practice whereby vessels that work in Nigeria, sail to neighbouring countries to meet their TIP conditions and undergo repairs concurrently, whereas such maintenance can be done at ship yards in Nigeria.
“The sector used to be dominated by foreign owned vessels, crews and rig operators, resulting in $3 billion capital flight. But with the Board’s marine vessel and rigs ownership strategy, the trend is changing with increased indigenous participation.”
Nwapa said indigenous players are currently participating fully in the smaller vessel category, thereby retaining about $1 billion out of the annual expenditure in that area, adding that a structured intervention for more Nigerian ownership of the larger offshore vessels has been put in place, with a potential for retaining a further $1.5 billion in the next two years.
He said with the drive by the Board, it would ensure that by the year, 2020, the ownership profile in the marine sector would be more locally-driven with retention in excess of $4 billion per year, 250,000 employment and training opportunities.
Nwapa said with the trend, an estimated $191 billion can be retained in Nigeria as activities are carried out here, and besides, over 300,000 new job opportunities can be created in engineering, sciences and technical services with over 65 per cent of the total industry budget domiciled in-country.
During the inauguration of MT Abiola and MT Igbinosa in Warri, Delta State, the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, said the Nigerian Content initiative has attracted foreign direct investments worth over $500 million in the manufacturing of equipment components for the oil and gas industry, as well as marine logistics.
She said the equipment components manufacturing initiative of the NCDMB, is an effective way to drive industrialisation of Nigeria, which has created over 1000 skilled jobs in the country.
She frowned at the domination of the downstream sector of the maritime industry by foreign tanker ships, with indigenous ship owners having minor role to play in the lightering and seaborne transportation of imported refined petroleum products destined for Nigeria.
MT Abiola and MT Igbinosa will transport crude oil to refineries and the international market.
The Director, Corporate Banking, Diamond Bank, financier of CNS Marine Nigeria Limited’s vessels, Samuel Egube, stressed the need for banks to support the marine logistics and support subsector.
He said Diamond Bank is the lead supporter for marine logistics in the country, adding that the bank is happy to see CNS Marine cross this major milestone. It is not just a milestone for this company, it is a milestone for Nigerian Content, he said.
“We will continue to do this because as we support companies that do this business, the companies will in turn support human capital development, and also create jobs for Nigerians. Divers, welders, among other professionals will benefit from the project,” Egube said.
The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of CNS Marine, Barry Adedamola, said: “The three vessels would help the company work offshore to serve international oil companies in offshore diving services, pipeline and seabed services. With the saturation vessel, we can dive down 300 metres, it also has a 50-tonne crane on it and at any given time we can take about 90 personnel offshore to do work.”
He said the project would create a lot of jobs and capacity in the economy. “We are hoping that with the training we will put in place, we can train more local people to work on these assets. We look for the support of the government in trying to do some of those things for we are fully committed 100 per cent Nigerian company.”
Information from The Nation was used in this report.