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. However, NPA Managing Director, Hadiza Bala Usman, assured that the exercise will be executed to completion.
Speaking during a stakeholders’ meeting in Calabar, Bala Usman, revealed that 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.
According to Executive Director, Engineering and Technical Services, Idris Abubakar, NPA is carrying out the survey so as to identify the total area to be dredged, after which the authority will 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,” said Bala Usman.
“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 immediately commence the dredging,” added Usman.
The managing director assured that the dredging will come to reality this year, as due process is being followed to execute the project.
Commissioning high-tech signal station
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.
“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 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,” she said.