….120 shipwrecks on coastlines
Nigeria is losing N657 million to absence of ship scrapping and recycling yards for wrecks dotting Nigeria coastline and waterways.
Ship recycling is the best way to dispose of a ship turned wrecks on the waterways.
According to investigation, the cost of paying for towing of a wreck is less than one tenth of the cost of removing one wreck from the water and wrecks removed from Nigerian waters cannot be less than $1.8 million. And it was gathered that there are over 120 shipwrecks abandoned on Nigeria’s coastline and about 60 of them littering the Lagos waters, being a littoral state and the commercial hub of the nation’s economy.
But maritime experts have argued that functional ship scrapping and recycling yard would help revamp Nigeria’s comatose steel industry.
Also, aside from revamping the comatose steel companies, the country is supposed to earn several billions of dollars from ship scrapping and recycling of wrecks.
Lack of these facilities have forced Nigerian shipowners to tow wrecks to Asia for recycling while those who have no fund to tow vessels to Asia abandoned their wrecks on the waterways posing threat to navigational safety. Apart from posing threat to navigational safety, shipwreck poses environmental hazards in the marine environment.
Ship recycling is a type of ship disposal involving the breaking up of ships for either a source of spare parts which can be sold for re-use or for the extraction of scrap steel. Industry experts have argued that lack of ship recycling yard is costing Nigeria huge billions as Nigeria have to get to China before it could scarp a ship thereby making wrecks dot the waterways.
Speaking during an interview, the president, Shipowners Association of Nigeria (SOAN), Engr. Greg Ogbeifun , bemoaned the absence of ship recycling yard in the country.
“In Nigeria, there are no ship recycling activities despite the high number of scrapped ships and the relics that adorn our coastal and inland waterways.
“This development has created a situation where vessels for scrapping anywhere in Africa are towed all the way to Asia with the attendant huge cost,” he said, adding further that ship recycling allowed materials from the ship to be made into new products.
Ogbeifun stated that “modern ships have a lifespan of 25 to 30 years before refitting, repair, corrosion, metal fatigue and a lack of parts render them uneconomical to run. Ship recycling allows materials from the ship especially steel and equipment on board to be made into new products.”
Speaking on the ship recycling yards as panacea to revamping Nigeria steel industry, Ogbeifun said a vibrant ship recycling sector would drive industrialisation.
“Ironically, the high number of shipwrecks and scraps in Nigerian waterways can provide reasonable base feedstock for the steel industry as well as offer huge financial projects to the shipping, manufacturing, agriculture and service industry. The defunct Delta steel company, Aladja was a big consumer of steel scrap for her furnace,” he said.
Also speaking, national chairman, Marine Engineering and Naval Architecture (MENA), Engr. Charles Otuonye , submitted that a vibrant ship recycling sector would drive industrialisation and create jobs.
“To make ship recycling economically viable, government would need to support the development of identified shipyards in the country to be equipped to be able to carry out ship breaking.
“Steel companies can also be encouraged to engage scrap owners and ship breaking yards for the acquisition, breaking and supply of the scrap to them on agreed terms. These shipwrecks can provide step metal which can be processed to produce Ingots and Billets,” he said.
Otuonye averred that the ingots and billets act as feedstock to other steel plants such as Osborne Rolling Mills for the production of profile, rods, mild steel and high tensile ribbed bars from billets and also to Ajaokuta Steel Company for the production of steel plates and other profiles, principally used in the shipbuilding, construction, mining and engineering industries.