By Godfrey Bivbere
Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company, SNEPCo, Chevron Nigeria Limited, and other International Oil Companies, IOCs, have been accused of violating diving regulations in Nigeria.
Nigeria’s Chief Inspector of Diving, CID, Julius Ugwala, who made this accusation in Lagos, also lamented that foreigners are being engaged in diving services by IOCs in the country.
Ugwala, who is also a member of the National Association of Professional Divers (NAPROD), said “There are various diving regulations around the world but Nigeria has the 2018 Diving At Work Regulation.
“It would be prudent if all activities involving diving are in line with local regulations just as the IOCs are also keen on complying with international regulations in the oil and gas sector.
“Currently, diving activities are ongoing in SNEPCo fields, Chevron, among others and we are fully aware that these diving contractors and their clients aren’t conducting their operations in line with the Diving At Work Regulation,” he said.
The CID however commended the diving contractor for the proposed EQUIANO Lagos Fibre Optic Cable Landing – Shore End for adhering to local regulation even as he urged diving contractors to emulate the same practice.
According to him, while good policies to enhance the diving sector are being explored, organisations, divers, contractors, and clients in the sector should ensure that their activities comply with global best practices and local regulations.
He, however, stated that the Diving Governing Board should be carried along in the planning stage for the proposed Diving Excellency and Diving School intended to enhance the profession in Nigeria.
Ugwala maintained that the diving sector is an opportunity to export professionals to other nations within Africa and the world at large, noting that the challenge of forex would be dissipated when people can attend diving schools in Nigeria.
Also speaking on capital flight, he observed that engaging Nigerian divers would eliminate the need for expatriates even as Nigeria could become a major exporter of divers.
“We want to make it known that organizations in Nigeria especially those operating in the oil and gas sector, can’t claim to have regard for the nation when they don’t abide by the laws governing the country,” he posited.