…Commends Level of Safety Compliance & Engagement of Locals
Nigeria’s Chief Inspector of Diving, Mr. Julius Ugwala on Wednesday made a surprise call at the site for the subsea installation of Google Fibre-Optic cable in Lagos to ensure compliance to the diving and local content regulations.
Addressing the media at the site of the project which is being executed by DK Offshore, Ugwala stated that the unannounced visit is one out of many tours of diving sites planned for the remaining part of the year to check standards of operations in the industry.
He said that following fresh reports of non-compliance to the Diving at Work regulation especially by International Oil Companies (IOCs), it is imperative for him and the Diving Board to embark on unscheduled tours of diving sites in-country for an assessment and firsthand update.
He said the tour which is hinged on ensuring the implementation of global safety standards and the local content policies as enshrined in the 2018 Diving at Work Regulation will scrutinize working conditions, facilities and welfare of divers.
The CID who called for more collaboration between local and foreign divers said that Nigerians have overtime developed competency and skill as such the local content law on diving should be upheld.
“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. 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 am 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.”
Ugwala who stated after the tour that the facility is already about 80 percent compliant commended the company for utilising Blue Phoenix Marine, an indigenous company for the inclusion of local expertise.
“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.
Speaking on the import of the project, DK Offshore Beach Master, Mr. Mitchell Thiery said that the project, which is to lay sub-sea cables owned by Google would “provide better connectivity in the country.”
He disclosed that the divers are required to protect and install the cables which 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 stated.
On his part, the Executive Director, Blue Phoenix Marine, Mr Adetunji Ladele urged IOCs who are not utilising local divers to give Nigerians a chance.
He said that with the regulation, operators have no choice but to align with the Chief Inspector of Diving and the Diving Advisory Board as they push for local content.
Ladele added that the local content law has availed Nigeria the opportunity to build a pool of competent local divers and companies.
TNMN reports that Blue Phoenix was established in 2016 and has been a leading organisation for safe dives and use of competent locals.