ByÂ Godwin Oritse
African Circle Limited, a marine waste management firm has acquired fourÂ new vessels to tackle pollution and other marine waste in the nationâ€™s coastal waters in line with the International Maritime Organisationâ€™s (IMO) objectives of safer and cleaner water for shipping activities.
The vessels which arrived NigeriaÂ last week from Istanbul Turkey and sighted by Vanguard are christenedÂ (Marpol Reception Vessel) MRV ETYPOU, MRV BICS,andÂ MRV MAIZUBE are also to be deployed to the Lagos ports area.
Speaking to Vanguard on the forth coming technical commissioning of the vessels, the consultant to the Nigerian pollution control project Captain Suleiman Bayee told Vanguard that the vessels are multi functional pollution control vessels as they not only mop up oil spill, they also pick up waste from the water surface and have fire fighting facilities built into them.
Two of the 120 tonnesÂ Â vessels, according toÂ BayeeÂ have capacity to take 480,000 litre of oily waste, while the two smaller ones can take 240,000 litre of waste.
In addition, Bayee said that theÂ bigger vessels also have capacity to take 12 tonnes of bagged waste as against 70 tonnes of bagged waste for smaller vessels
The retired ship captain further explained that before the vessels arrived Nigeria, about eight Nigerian employees of African Circle(four engineers and four deck officers)Â were sent to Turkey for six weeks to familiarise themselves with systems of the these vessels.
He disclosed that a total of twelve vessels of various sizesÂ have been earmarked to be deployed to all port areas across the country.
Suleiman said thatÂ four will be deployed to Lagos, four to Port Harcourt, two to Calabar and two to Warri, adding that the experience with newly acquired vessels will determine whether vessels bigger that 120 tonnes will be required for future use.
His words â€œwell let me put it this way, I think it depends on the experienceÂ we have with these vessels, we may decide to make a bit bigger and if we find that these are too big, then we may go back and built the smaller ones, I suspect that we may needÂ bigger ones than this may be a 400 ton vessel.
â€œThese boats apart from being waste collection vessels, they are actually first tier spill response boats and they are equipped with skimmers, booms and other safety gadgets that will make life at sea safer.
On the life span of these vessels Captain said â€œFor these one if they are properly maintained, I do not see why they can not do forty years or moreâ€.
Speaking in similar vein, the Managing Director of African Circle Mr Ayodele Emmanuel said that the company’sÂ incinerator that is currently under construction at the Niger Dock end of the Tin-Can Island port is one of the biggest in sub-Sahara Africa, adding that newly acquired marine pollution control vessels are just a compliment to the entire marine pollution control project.
The project when fully opeartional will create employment opportunities for hundreds of Nigerians in the maritime sector.