The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), has commenced arrangements to facilitate the dredging of Calabar Port, in Cross River State.
The Calabar Port is one of the ports that had suffered so much in the past due to shallow waters, and controversies surrounding the dredging of the channel, but the Managing Director, NPA, Hadiza Bala Usman, assured that the exercise will be done this time around.
Bala Usman, who disclosed this at a stakeholders’ meeting in Calabar, said the Authority has placed an advert for the contract, and will commence the survey of the channel this week in preparation for award of the dredging contract.
Represented by the Executive Director, Engineering and Technical Services, Idris Abubakar, she said: “NPA is carrying out the survey so as to identify the total area to be dredged, after which we can now consider which contractor will carry out the dredging.
The contract has been advertised, we are now in the procurement process. We have been given allocation in the 2017 budget. We will commence the survey on Monday because we need to know the size of the area before giving it to the qualified contractor.
“The procurement process will not be completed until the survey report is ready, and the standard bidding documents for the contractors will be made available after the survey. Once that is ready, we will progress to the Ministry, and further to the Federal Executive Council for approvals of the contractor. When this is done, we will be immediately commence the dredging.”
The managing director assured that the dredging would come to reality this year, as due process is being followed to execute the project.
Meanwhile, the Authority has commissioned a signal station at the Dockyard in Calabar Port, to track vessel movement, and ensure safe navigation into the port.
Bala Usman, who officially commissioned the facility, said the high-tech signal station is part of the Authority’s commitment to ensure that the channels are safe for visiting ships.
She said the facility is important to the operations of NPA because it would help to monitor all vessel traffic along the channel.
“It improves the security at the channel, as you will have all data base of movement along the channel such that you can use the data bank to get information from the signal station,” she said.
Port Manager, Calabar Port, Mrs Olufunmilayo Olotu, said: “What the signal station is doing to for us is that no vessel or craft can come into Calabar pilotage district without our knowledge. It is positioned at a vantage spot overlooking the entire entrance to the port.
“ The signal station is equipped with binoculars that can zoom the images; it can contact other signal stations; equipped with 24 hours electricity supply, and will help us in terms of rescue operations, in case there is any incident along the channel, then we can track, monitor and report.”