Workers of the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, under the aegis of Senior Staff Association of Communications Transport and Corporation, SSACTAC, are preparing for a showdown with NIPCO Plc, a petroleum marketing firm over a proposed petroleum pipeline contract around the dockyard axis of the Lagos Ports Complex, Apapa.
The marketing company, which currently has a tank farm facility, is planning to lay another receptive pipeline across the dockyard quay wall, a development the workers say they will vehemently resist, as it will obstruct navigational and pilotage activities.
President of the association, Mr. Jimoh Umar, who addressed the media on the development, expressed worries that apart from impeding economic activities at Nigeria’s busiest seaport, Apapa, the project will constitute a major threat to safety to lives and property, as it is fraught with explosion and attendant fire outbreak. The 1.5 kilometre pipe line is being laid by the petroleum marketing company along the ship lane from the Waziri Jetty to NPA dockyard.
According to him, the project will bring disaster to the entire port system and the maritime industry, alleging that the petroleum pipe being laid by NIPCO plc was approved by some corrupt government officials without considering the danger and investment that would be lost if there is explosion and fire outbreak.
He disclosed that there exists a pilotage district within Lagos Ports with a Joint Venture Company, JVC, Lagos Channel Management, LCM, which handles the pilotage of Lagos district, which is located at the dockyard even as tug boats and dredgers are berthed along the dock yard. “There is another JVC known as the Continental Ship Yard Limited, CSL, which repairs ships and vessels belonging to NPA and other third party jobs.
This company also repairs NPA’s tug boats, dredgers and pilot cutters with preference and at half the cost as compared with charges of others such as Niger Dock Plc”, he also observed.
“If NIPCO is allowed to go ahead with the project, the navigational channel of about 1.5kilometres would be blocked and any attempt to check vessels and tug boats belonging to NPA will lead to collision with the pipe line, thus leading to spillage of petroleum products, explosion and possible fire outbreak, which will negatively affect the Lagos Port complex, Naval Base and the dockyard among others”, Jimoh warned.
He therefore declared that establishment of a petroleum product pipeline along the quay apron was an invitation to disaster by the corrupt government officials who approved the project. It was also gathered that the project will have serious ecological side effects in terms of pollution from the company’s activities.
“Also, NPA will not be able to discharge its pilotage services to the terminal operators at the ports, a development that will thwart the gains of the port reform programme”, he also argued.
Information from National Mirror was used in this report.