Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) said there have been attacks on vessels in the Niger Delta since the beginning of 2019. It consequently seeks collaboration with the Nigerian Navy to tackle maritime insecurity on Nigeria’s waters.
Executive Secretary of the Council; Mr Hassan Bello lamented that the attacks are affecting operations of shipping companies in the country.
Bello made this known last week when he paid a courtesy visit to the Chief of the Naval Staff; Vice Admiral Ibok Ette-Ibas in Abuja.
According to him, the attacks were in spite of the efforts made by shipping companies to provide security for their vessels.
He said that security challenges in the maritime sector contributed immensely to the competiveness of the nation’s port, impede trade and affect the nation’s gross domestic product.
Bello said that there was need for Navy to support the passage of the anti-piracy bill into law and provide a platform to be placed strategically offshore with armed naval security presence in Bonny.
He told his host that: “More than 90 per cent of the world’s commerce is moved through maritime shipping over sea lanes, with increasing reliance on just-in-time delivery of products.
“Countries are closely bound together by maritime shipping. For instance, June 2016 to June 2018, there were 10,673 vessel calls at the ports with gross registered tonnage of over 329 million.
“However, one of the major challenges in the maritime sector is security.
“We have received various complaints from the shipping companies who are forced to provide their own security to escort their vessels to port.
“And spite of their efforts, between 2017 and 2018 there have been 88 attacks in the Niger Delta.”
Responding, the Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ette-Ibas reiterated Navy’s commitment to continue to provide security on Nigeria waterways.
He said that for the past three years, they had been a lot of improvement on the waterways based on the strategies put in place that yielded positive results.
“The Executive Secretary has enriched us with the work of the Council and highlighted some of the challenges the Nigerian shippers are having presently and what efforts have been made.
“So far to mitigate those challenges, I also want to remind us of the Nigeria Navy’s mandate in the provision of maritime security which of course compliments the role of the council as regulator in shipping activities.
“I therefore want to re-emphasise the fact that the Nigerian Navy remains committed in improving security in the nation’s maritime sector.”Ette-Ibas however said that it would continue to collaborate with NSC to ensure safety on Nigeria’s waterways.