NPA Raises Alarm Over Increased Attacks On Vessels At Berth   

L-R: General Manager, Security; Nasir Anas Muhammed, General Manager, Corporate and Strategic Communications;  Abdulahi Goje,  Executive Director, Marine & Operations, Nigeria Ports Authority; Sekonte Davies at the 2nd Quarterly NPA Joint LPC/TCIPC Stakeholders Meeting yesterday in Lagos.

•  Destroys Shanties, Illegal Structures Around Port Area

The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has raised alarm over increase in the number of attacks by hoodlums on vessels discharging cargoes at Nigerian ports, even as it has begun the pulling down of illegal structures and hideout of criminals around the ports.

The NPA has equally alleged internal collaboration in most of the attacks, charging terminal operators, especially; ENL terminal to scrutinize their internal security systems. 

Speaking at the Quarterly Stakeholders Meeting of NPA in Lagos yesterday, the Managing Director of the authority, Hadiza Bala Usman also noted that despite several warnings to shipping companies to put in place holding bays for empty containers, most of them have turned deaf ears and refused to comply. 

She was represented at the meeting by the Executive Director, Marine and Operations, Dr. Sekonte Davies. 

According to her, some of the attacks on vessels discharging at the port come from miscreants occupying shanties and illegal structures around the ports. 

She said that the demolition is an ongoing action and that NPA is carrying out the action in collaboration with Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) Federal Road Safety Corp (FRSC) Nigerian Navy, and the Police.

"It is an ongoing action carried out to ensure that we have a safer environment to do business, devoid of attacks.

We have started pulling down all illegal structures and shanties hindering free movement to the port"

"Of great concern to us recently is the attack on vessels, especially at the ENL terminals,  the attacks have increased and we are very worried,  we have also established that it happens especially when they are offloading, so we suggest to ENL to look into its security system because we suspect that there is an insider collaboration" 

"In one of the attacks, we suspected from the way the rope was tied that somebody inside had assisted the robbers, the ENL should do an analogy of their CCTV in order to help us solve the problems", she said.

Also speaking at the stakeholders meeting, General Manager of ENL terminal, Mr. Mark Walsh noted that the reported attacks are not only from his terminal, but also from other terminals within the Apapa port. 

He said, "we have had several attacks in the last four months, it is not only on us, most of the attacks happen on fish vessels because they are low and easy to access by the canoes"

Mr. Walsh charged NPA to ensure proper construction and protection of the quay side in order to prevent the robbers. He said that already, some ship agents are insisting on coming to the port with armed police. 

The NPA boss has however assured that in order to improve security around the port, NPA has increased its patrol vehicles and presence at the port. The only area of challenge according to her is staff capacity.

The NPA MD also said that the authority is having challenges with the creation of holding bays as the shipping companies have failed to comply with several directives issued to them. She said that most of the spaces they claimed to have created for holding bays are grossly inadequate and are also being used for stuffing of export containers.

On the shipping companies, she said: “We might take drastic action against the shipping companies who failed to put in place holding bays, we are only delaying because of economic implications. We would not allow any cabals to affect or influence our decisions"

On use of electronic call-up system for trucks, Hadiza said that without a truck terminal in place, it would be difficult to operate a call-up system at the port. She said that NPA has also called on private operators who are interested in establishing truck parks to show interests.

When a representative of Maersk Line, Mrs Kikelomo Cudjoe, argued that shipping companies have since complied with NPA instructions on establishment of holding bays, various stakeholders at the meeting disagreed with the claim, saying that shipping companies were still relying on third party arrangements.