News Stories in 4th Quarter 2006 Edition of DDH Magazine
BCC To Undertake Capital Dredging of Bonny Channel
In line with the object of DDH magazine to keep tabs on the dredging of Nigerian waterways, the management of Bonny Channel Company which was formed by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) about one year ago to focus on the dredging of the ports along the Bonny Channel in River State, the management of the joint venture filled us in on their progress so far. According to an email sent to DDH, BCC claimed success on ensuring safety and better accessibility of calling ships to the area. Its General Manager, Mr Steven Poppe hinged their success on regular management of the navigation aids like buoys through refurbishment, position monitoring & monitoring of proper functioning, maintenance, etc. He said BCC carries out bathymetric surveys to determine the dredging needs along the channel and river as well as carrying out maintenance dredging on the waterways to maintain navigable depth for all users. Also included in the progress report was wreck removal and training of NPA staff in dredging. To cap its diligence, the company informed of an imminent capital dredging of the existing channel in response to the growing traffic.
When DDH called on Mr Poppe to clear arising questions, the following exchange ensued. Excerpts:
DDH: Can you expatiate what you mean by regular bathymetric survey?
Poppe: Every three months, BCC executes a survey to check on the depth of the river. Based on that survey, maintenance dredging is implemented.
DDH: What length, is it the whole channel of the river?
Poppe: Yes, the whole channel.
DDH: What kind of equipment have your company got, have you got dredgers?
Poppe: At the moment we have one big and one small dredger working there.
DDH: How challenging is the dredging work facing your company at the Bonny channel?
Poppe: It is a big challenge to maintain this navigable depth along this channel.
DDH: What is the depth you found it and what depth are you taking it to?
Poppe: The depth we are taking it to is minus 11 metres. The first draught the channel is minus 5.5 metres, that’s up to where the channel serves the LNG vessels. And then, later we bring it to minus 11 everywhere.
DDH: So then you are doing it in phases?
Poppe: We shall start from downstream and we move upstream.
DDH: You mentioned NLNG and Mobil vessels and Onne port traffic. What is the traffic like?
Poppe: I think from NLNG, they have like four NLNG vessel movements per day. Mobil and other vessels for Onne port are not included.
DDH: That means we are talking of quite some busy traffic in the channel…?
DDH: You also mentioned wreck removal. What wrecks have you removed thus far and where did you dump them?
Poppe: In total, 14 wrecks have been removed so far.
DDH: Are these broken down ships or what?
Poppe: Yes. Some barges that sunk and things like that are what we removed.
DDH: Where did you take them to?
Poppe: Deep sea.
DDH: Then you mentioned training of NPA staff. How many have you trained?
Poppe: So far, I think around 5 but it’s picking up.
DDH: In what skills did you train them?
Poppe: We have some that went for dredging course overseas. That one was in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Others went to Belgium for advanced trainings in Port Management and Financial Management for executives.
DDH: You also mentioned that you are going to do capital dredging. What draught are you targeting in this capital dredging?
Poppe: 14.3 metres. The capital dredging consists of deepening and widening. The existing channel will be widened and deepened.
DDH: Is this only Bonny channel?
Poppe: Yes, correct, only the channel.
DDH: So all the other areas like Port Harcourt port are not your area?
Poppe: Now, we do the maintenance (for that) but the capital (dredging) will be done only in the channel. the maintenance will be done on the whole stretch but the capital will be done only on the channel. The capital (dredging) is to accommodate larger vessels and LNG vessels.
DDH: When you do capital dredging, what do you remove, is it silt, sand or sediments|?
Poppe: It’s fine sand.
DDH: What quantity?
Poppe: It’s difficult to say. It’s a huge volume but I can’t tell you exactly at the moment.
DDH: And when you remove them, do you sell it?
Poppe: No, they will be dumped at a spoil ground at sea.
DDH: Then finally sir do you charge the vessels plying the channels like NLNG, Mobil, etc?
Poppe: No, NPA is charging them. NPA is funding BCC.