By Godwin Oritse
FOLLOWING the shallow depth of the Escravos channel, a development that has reduced the number of vessels calling at the Warri port, the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, has commenced moves to dredge the channel for increased port activities.
Speaking to Vanguard Maritime Report, Managing Director of the Escravos Ship Pilots Nigeria Limited, ESPL, Capt Charlie Tobi, said that vessels run aground in the port almost daily.
Tobi explained that when these vessels run aground, it has to wait until there is high tide before the vessel can move again.
He also stated that with what is going on, the port has been recording low ship traffic just as the agency revenue profile from the Warri port has also dwindled.
He said: “With the shallow waters, there is less vessel traffic at the port; this has also put a stain on the projected revenue from the port.
“Anyway they are working and they have said they want to dredge the channel and we are waiting for them to start the process of dredging, fix the breakwater and other needfuls.”
Some of the effected ship owners who spoke to Vanguard Maritime Report amid fear of being victimised, said the low draft has become a source of worry for them because of the damage the shallow waters does to their vessels.
Speaking to Vanguard Maritime Report, Assistant General Manager, Marine and Operations, NPA, Capt Jerome Angyunwe, said that vessels did run aground before the Channel was dredged.
Angyunwe also said that the Escravos Channel cannot be dredged in isolation adding that all channels that are managed by the NPA are also going to be dredged.