The Escravos Ship Pilots have petitioned the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, over the damaged breakwaters in the Escravos channel leading to the Warri port.
The collapsed breakwaters, according to the pilots, have drastically affected the vessels traffic in the Warri port area. A breakwater is the sea gate to a port, built to prevent sand from entering the dredged channel.
In the petition to President Muhammadu Buhari, the pilots said they had written several letters to the relevant authorities with a view to rehabilitating the channel facility, adding that the Warri port has made the port record poor ship operations.
Pilots who described the damaged breakwaters as a hydrographical and technical error also noted that submerged facility had also affected operations of some multi-national firms in that axis.
They were of the opinion that if the breakwaters were rehabilitated, it will boost the Nigerian economy as ships coming to the refinery, Delta Steel Company, Flourmills and Julius Berger construction firm will have easy access to the port.
The petition read in part: “Rebuilding, rehabilitating the Escravos Submerged Breakwaters will boost, and contribute to the Nigerian economy as more ships will come into the port with more tonnage of cargoes”.
They suggested that the length of the mole at sea for the proposed re-construction of the breakwaters should not be less than 0.5 miles, while the length of the main mole from sea to inshore should be 3.1 miles.
It was also suggested that the length of the shore protection along the shorelines should be 4.5 miles.
Effort to get comments from the Nigerian Ports Authority was futile but a source close to the marine department of the authority told newsmen that the cost of the re-construction of the Escravos breakwaters has been included in this year’s budget.
The source explained that the process of finding why the breakwaters collapsed took time and test in fortifying the one that will be constructed also took time, hence the delay in budgeting for the rehabilitation of the breakwaters.