Apparently worried by the negative image that activities of local pilots on the channel leading to Warri port have brought on Nigeria, the managing director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) Malam Abdulsalam Mohammed has offered employment to them, urging them to desist from illegal operations.
Briefing the minister of transport, Alahji Ibrahim Bio when the duo visited Delta ports recently, Abdusalam lamented the activities of the local pilots saying that NPA was ready to absorb them as full employees with the attraction of fantastic salaries.
Accusing the youths and natives of the area of frustrating all efforts to resolve the issue, the NPA boss told the minister that activities of the local pilots have been a pain on the organisation’s neck for a long time.
According to him, NPA had offered them employment after training them. All these efforts did not yield any result as the local pilots abscond shortly after the training.
“The activity of the local pilots in the Warri Channel has remained a major challenge to the Authority in the Delta Port. It is regrettable that their activities have continued to generate bad image to the country in shipping activities. We have recruited some of them and even trained them, but a number of them left the service soon after training” he explained.
Earlier, while briefing the minister, the port manager Warri Port Mr. Onunyenwa Obumneme had stated that navigational aids for Delta port were in a bad shape in urgent need for an improvement, even a she requested for classification of tug boats, dredging of channel as well as acquisition of pilot cutters and mooring facilities.
He however disclose that despite the challenges, the ports have been able to handle more than 70 shipments of project cargo, 840,000 metric tonnes of inward cargoes to Escravos/Warri under the EGTL project, as well as over 400 barge transhipment operations to Escravos, amongst others.
But in apparent reaction to the port manager’s requests, the managing director informed the minister that despite the illegal activities of the local pilots, NPA has plans to rehabilitate the Escravos breakwaters this year, mark the channels in addition to marking the channel with eight meters chart datum and additional two meters to the channel’s draught.