By Godwin Oritse
THE Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA in partnership with a Dutch firmÂ has concluded arrangements to establish Africaâ€™s first Ship recycling facility in Nigeria.
The Agencyâ€™ Director General, Mr. Temisan Omatseye made this disclosure during a presentation to NIMASA by representatives of the Southern African Shipyard (SAS) who were in the country to explore the possibility of establishing a Shipyard in Nigeria.
Mr Omatseye stated that the exact location for the Ship recycling facility is the only challenge the Agency is currently faced with and this is being sorted out.
Construction work on the project he said would commence by the fourth quarter of this year, just as theÂ DG expressed optimism that the project will have a positive multiplier effect on the Nigerian maritime sector.
â€œShip recycling offers a possibility to reuse significant parts and equipment of the ship.â€œ Steel can be recycled to produce new steel, reducing the energy required for processing by two_thirds. Copper cables and aluminum may also be recycled in similar ways.Â This way we reuse natural resources.
â€œWith our vessel replacement programme on course, you will agree with me that establishing a ship recycling facility in Nigeria will avoid waste and create wealth for Nigeriansâ€ He said.
NIMASAâ€™s bossÂ noted that international standards will be adopted in establishing the facility to avoid environmental hazards adding that adequate environmental impact assessment will be carried out before its final site is determined.Â Mr Omatseye also stated that NIMASA will adhere strictly to the provisions of the Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships which was adopted in May 2009.
This Convention is aimed at ensuring that ships, when being recycled after reaching the end of their operational lives; do not poseÂ unnecessary risk to human health and safety or to the environment.
The Convention was adopted at a diplomatic conference held in Hong Kong, China, from 11 to 15 May 2009, attended by delegates from 63 countries.
The new Convention intends to address all the issues around ship recycling, including the fact that ships sold as scrapping may contain environmentally hazardous substances such as asbestos, heavy metals, hydrocarbons, ozone-depleting substances and others.
Ships to be sent for recycling will be required to carry an inventory of hazardous materials, which will be specific to each ship.
Ship recycling yards will be required to provide a â€œShip Recycling Planâ€, to specify the manner in which each ship will be recycled, depending on its particulars and its inventory.