Ugwala Tasks IOCs on Nigeria’s Diving Regulations

From 4th left, CID Julius Ngwala with officials of DK Offshore Ltd and Blue Phoenix Marine in Lagos

By Chiazo Ogbolu

Mr Julius Ugwala, the Nigeria’s Chief Inspector of Diving (CID), has urged International Oil Companies (IOCs) operaing in the country to abide by the diving regulations.

Ugwala made this known at an inspection site of the DK Offshore Ltd., in charge of laying of the Google Subsea fibre optic cable, on Thursday in Lagos.

He said that the country was not going back on its diving regulations.

“I am a firm believer of regulation and we are looking forward to see that Nigerians cover the industry.

“We have good divers in the country, manpower and skill; therefore, we need interventions to carry out our jobs successfully in the country.

“Today, expatriates who are members of other organisations have testified that we have all it takes and they have seen something unique in Nigerian divers and this makes me very proud.

Ugwala who is also a member of the National Association of Professional Divers (NAPROD), noted that the visit boosted his momentum to push hard in ensuring that Nigerians were used in all projects.

“I use this opportunity to call on other IOCs that regulation is in place and we are not going back on it. It is the law of the land and any organisation that is not willing to obey the law of the land is not part of us,” he said.

The expert said he was pleased with what he saw during the inspection and interaction with the company.

Ugwala said that the company was using 90 per cent of Nigerians in line with the sector’s requirements.

“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, one might have spinal issue and I have told them to put in something that will elevate the staircase so that they can have proper access there.

“I have impacted something here today with my discussion with them, they scored 80 per cent but we would keep on pushing for improvement because our goal is that they attain 100 per cent,’’ he said.

Mr Adetunji Ladele, the Executive Director, Blue Phoenix Marine, an indigenous diving company, urged the IOCs to embrace local content by utilising Nigerian divers.

Ladele noted that proper regulation would force IOCs to embrace use of local content.

He commended Ugwala and the Ministry of Labour for their efforts in local content adding that the Act had brought some structure to the system which was not there before.

“We are talented people and besides this project, we are also working on other projects and I am passionate about Nigerian content.

“Even, 90 per cent of our divers are local people, if you check, you will find very gifted, capable Nigerian professionals and the thing we have achieved with them is unbelievable,’’ he said.

Ladele pointed out that local content had allowed Nigerians to build a strong pool of competent local divers.

“As a company with local indigenous divers, we have not supported the telecoms, its new technology we are exposed to, working with DK Offshore who are the owners of the burial tool.

“A specific tool that was designed to bury the cable had exposed us to that side of the business,” Ladele said.

Also, Mr Mitchell Thiery, the Beach Master, DK Offshore, said that the company had 22 Nigerians working on the project in line with the laws and regulations of the country.

“We have been in this country for over one month and the project we are working on is to lay subsea cables.

“The cables will be owned by Google and the goal is provide better connectivity in the country. We require divers to protect and install the cables,’’ Thiery said.

He said that the cables would get to the bottom of the seas and that was why they needed the divers.

“The divers have surveyed 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 will commence the process of laying the cables,” he said.

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