Sea Robbers Descend On Lagos Secure Anchorage, Target Product Tankers     

Daredevil sea robbers have penetrated the security web around the previously impregnable fortress for ships waiting to berth in Lagos ports. The elite anchorage called Lagos Secure Anchorage Area (SAA) has now become a target for sea robbers on Lagos waters.

Secured Anchorage Area was carved out and approved by the Federal Government in the wake of the spike in piracy and attacks on ships in the approaches to Lagos harbours and at berths.

It was also confirmed that,  owing to its safety records, as at 2015, operators of  the  Secured Anchorage Area  in Lagos charged $3,000 each for day one and day two followed by $1,500 from day three, onwards. Additional escort services can see rates ranging from a low of $4,500 for basic services to a high of $64,000 for lengthier voyage services, inclusive of bunkers.

Efforts to ascertain how much is paid currently were unsuccessful as security sources that are in the know refused to give further information. Shipping Position Daily findings revealed that last week alone, there were three attempts on ships which had sought security at the highly-fortified Lagos Secure Anchorage Area. The target of the robbers seems to be petroleum products-laden ships awaiting berthing facilities in Lagos jetties.

For instance, security sources confirmed to one of our correspondents last week that  on October 14th, “two robbers boarded an anchored product tanker. Duty watchman noticed the robbers, raised the alarm and sounded ship’s horn resulting in the robbers jumping overboard and escaping”.

The source added that yet on October 17th, “Duty AB on routine rounds onboard an anchored product tanker noticed a speed boat alongside the anchor chain. Around five persons armed with guns and hooks were noticed attempting to board the tanker. The AB shouted at the intruders and informed the bridge”

“Alarm was raised and fire pump activated. Upon hearing the alarm, the persons aborted the attempted boarding and moved away”.

The source explained that security operatives are helpless, because according to him, even though the Navy were contacted and the areas of attacks thoroughly searched, none of the attackers was seen.

“We are suspecting vulnerability and insider-involvement in the attacks, because the pattern is the same, yet there is usually no trace of any robber”, the source said.

He recalled that, the attack on Lagos Secure Anchorage Area started in July, when a product tanker was attacked and boarded by robbers.  He mentioned a particular attack in July, adding that just like it is happening currently, the robbers escaped.

 Shipping Position Daily confirmed that, the  Nigerian Navy has a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with a firm called ‘Ocean Marine Services’ (OMS) to operate  the Secured Anchorage Area (SAA) for the purpose of reduction of piracy, sea robbery and other maritime crimes in the Lagos Anchorage area.