APRIL 9, 2010 — Until now, vessels servicing the offshore industry in the Gulf of Guinea, and specifically Nigeria, have typically been substantially older than those operating elsewhere in the world. However, LATC Marine Ltd, a subsidiary of Africa-focused investment firm L.A.T Cleveson (LATC), aims to change that. It has signed an order with Damen Shipyards Group for the supply of two PSV 3300 platform supply vessels and two FCS 5009 fast supplier vessels. The order will bring next generation Damen PSVs to the offshore industry of Nigeria and the Gulf of Guinea for the first time.
The PSVs and fast suppliers acquired by LATC Marine will have the full support of the Damen Service Hub in Port Harcourt, as well as the Damen Regional Office in Lagos. An additional Service Hub in Ghana is being planned.
"Our aim is to redefine the concept of quality tonnage in the Gulf of Guinea and particularly in Nigeria," says Gbolahan Shaba, COO of LATC Marine. "We plan to locally develop the necessary skill sets that will sustain our quality service to the most demanding clientele who run very complex operations in the most challenging environments. Ultimately, our strategy is to attain the capacity to build and maintain quality tonnage in Nigeria. We anticipate strong demand for repair and docking services in our region and we plan to create the facilities to meet that demand, professionally and safely."
RS Platou Africa, now a part of Clarkson's, acted as adviser to Damen and LATC.
"For some years now, we have seen the need for innovation in vessel designs of higher quality and efficiency and especially sustainable services throughout Africa's west coast operations," says Simon Pethick, head of RS Platou's Offshore Support Vessel & Drilling Units division. "Hence, new - and newly built – tonnage is needed. At the same time, both businesses and governments need long-term stability to grow. This can only happen if the region develops the right skills and focuses on long-term relationships between owners, operators, suppliers, governments and financial institutions for the development of long term sustainability. We are proud to be the 'enabling advisor' in this project, which does exactly that – taking steps to enable long-term commitment and growth."The purchase has been financed by Nigeria's Fidelity Bank Plc. Mike Nnaji, Head of the bank's Transport & Shipping Division, says that the quality of the assets covered by the deal "speaks for itself."
"These vessels will show the value and effectiveness of assets that are built to U.K. North Sea standards which are efficient, environmentally-friendly and economic to operate," he says. "Fidelity Bank will continue to stimulate and support this development in line with the Nigerian Government's local content initiative".