NPA suspends service boat operations to foreign oil firms over accumulated debts

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The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has suspended service boat operations to debtor International Oil Companies (IOCs) and other beneficiaries of the services.

NPA spokesman, Abdullahi Goje, said in a statement that the suspension, which took immediate effect, affected all its pilotage districts until full settlement of debts accruing from unpaid pilotage dues.

He said that NPA might prevent affected Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessels from accessing the Nigerian waterways from January 2018.

FPSO is a floating vessel used by offshore oil and gas industry for the production and processing of hydrocarbons and for the storage of oil.

According to Goje, the decision to stop the operation of service boats to debtor companies followed the failure and refusal of the affected companies to honour their obligations to the Authority.

“This is in spite of several reminders over a couple of months to this effect.

“Given the fact that the companies, some of whose indebtedness run into millions of dollars outstanding for over two years, ignored the advice given by the NPA.’’

Goje said that the Authority had no choice than to pursue this course of action, which had been communicated to all companies concerned.

He said that NPA also frowned at and would resist the continued refusal of the companies to use its towage and pilotage services, saying that this was contrary to the laws of the country.

According to Goje, NPA is the only organisation empowered to provide such services (towage and pilotage) in the country.

He said that notice had already been given to promoters of the FPSO to the effect that the vessel would not be granted access to Nigeria’s waterways from next year.

Goje said that NPA would pursue legal remedies in its determination to ensure that “no organisation impedes its mandate as provided in Part II of the Port Act’’.

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