As part of efforts to ensure compliance to local content and other regulations governing diving, Nigeria’s Chief Inspector of Diving, Mr. Julius Ugwala stormed some offshore facilities in Lagos, yesterday.
Speaking with The News Diet during the tour, Ugwala stressed that Nigerian divers have proven to be skillful and competent, but lamented that some International Oil Companies (IOCs) haven’t respected the local content law on diving.
According to the Chief Inspector of Diving, the impromptu visit was part of ongoing investigation on offshore activities to scrutinize the working conditions, facilities and welfare of divers.
His words: “When it comes to diving, we have manpower and the requisite skills in the country, but we need interventions and collaboration to carry out our jobs successfully. Today’s unannounced visit is proof that I was right in what I am saying. Today, expatriates have testified to say that Nigeria has all it takes and they agree that there is something unique in them and this makes me very proud.”
“This visit actually boosts my momentum to push hard in ensuring that Nigerians are used in all projects. I’m using this opportunity to call on other IOCs to comply to the regulations in place. These regulations have come to stay and we are not going back on it. It is a law of the land and any organisation that is not willing to obey the law of the land is not part of us.”
After inspecting DK Offshore site, Ugwala scored the firm 80 percent, expressing satisfaction with the company which utilized Nigerians by partnering an indigenous company, Blue Phoenix Marine Limited.
“I am most pleased with what I have seen and from what they have said about using over 90 percent of Nigerians. I’m giving them kudos on that side and they also met most of the requirements in the sector. However, there are small things that I spotted and I tried to correct them. First if you go to the chamber, you will see that it’s very deep, if you want to rush a man inside the chamber, the person might have spinal issue and I have told them to put in something that would elevate the staircase so that they can have proper access there,” Ugwala said.
Also speaking, the Beach Master, DK Offshore, Mr. Mitchell Thiery said that the company has been in Nigeria for over one month and the project is to lay sub-sea cables owned by google.
“The goal is provide better connectivity in the country. We require divers to protect and install the cables. Things have been challenging and slow at the site here because we have various nationalities but it’s normal because we have managed to work together and we don’t have big issues.”
“The cables will get to the bottom of the seas. We have had divers survey the depth and cables will be buried down at the bottom when they are ready. The depth is roughly 12 meters. As soon as we are done with Customs approval, we would commence the process of laying the cables. On this project we have 22 Nigerians which is 100 percent of the workforce in line with the laws and regulations of the country,” Mitchell said.
Meanwhile, the Executive Director, Blue Phoenix Marine, Mr Adetunji Ladele urged IOCs who are not utilizing local divers to give Nigerians a chance.
According to Ladele, with the regulation, the operators have no choice and with people like Ugwala pushing for local content and the law has to be enforced.
Ladele pointed out that the new local content law allowed Nigerians to build a strong pool of competent local divers and companies like Blue Phoenix which was established in 2016, now have better opportunities in the sector.