Capt Taiwo Akinpelumi (Coordinator, Lagos, NISA)
It is worst, to say the least, that the security situation in Nigerian waters have deteriorated significantly, such that an emergency must be declared.
Now, back to your question, I do not know if any maritime nation in the world will celebrate “private operated anchorage”. Let’s ask ourselves what makes effective and efficient operation of anchorage in Nigeria an illusion? You will agree with me that they are nothing short of incompetence - putting square peg in a round hole, lack of appreciation and function overlap of the various maritime agencies, such as NPA, NIMASA, NIWA, including the Nigerian Navy and marine Police. Do you think the agency responsible for the maintenance, administration and operation of anchorages wouldn’t have done things differently if the people at the helm of affairs have full grasp and appreciation of the humongous resources to be made if well managed and operated? A classic example is what obtainable in Lomé whereby no vessel leaves Togo port without payment of between £2,500 and £5,000 per ship. If you sum up what the anchorage fees, it is enough to garner resources to effectively police our waters in accordance with best global practices. Of course, the menace of the monster itself - corruption - cannot be down played in relation to how unsafe the anchorage positions have turned. I’m not aware who audit the activities of NIMASA and NPA concerning revenue generated in relation to our anchorages. Abayomi Mukandas (Port Facility Security Official)
There must be a registered, regulated and coordinated situation room for dissemination of strategic real time information amongst security agencies on our waterways. The Nigerian Navy and Marine Police are not enough to tackle criminal ventures on our water ways; The local villages and residents along the water bodies are often responsible for attacks, The International Ships and Ports Security code (ISPS) framework had provisions for equipping stakeholders. As the President of the Inland Waterways Environmental and Safety Forum in Nigeria, our core mandate is to create a consultative platform to engage, capacity building, educate, and provide sustainable leadership in tackling far reaching issues in order to maximize the propensity and prosperity of the Nigerian Inland Waterways Dr. Eugene Nweke (Former, National President, NAGAFF)
It is an admittance of weak and ill-equipped National Navy administration and operations. An efficient Navy will never allow the NIMASA to contemplate such considerations, if not for anything, for National Security. If there are any technical operations/services that the Navy could render to NIMASA for ensuring proper policing of our water front and anchorage under a subsidized rate, this is one of it. This makes room for operational advancement and national savings.
Engr Nnadi Ogbuagu (Director General, NISA)
In my entire sea career spanning over 20 years sailing the world oceans and berthing in many world class ports and anchorages, I did not know or see any maritime nation in the world whose anchorages were manned by private outfit or security. At the height of fuel subsidy hullabaloo in 2012, and as consultant to the subsidy Committee, I toured Lome and Cotonou anchorages where the literage operations were going on. They were not privately managed and like other world ports, a lot is involved in term of national security, terrorism, smuggling, human trafficking, drug trafficking, oil theft and illegal fishing as in the case of Nigeria as well as kidnapping. Also, in the case of Nigeria, no private security will wage wars over the level of ethnic militancy going on in our waters. Agencies of Governments manage anchorages because there are monies to be made both by the ports and state security apparatus. It costs as much as $2500-5000US per ship in Lome and Cotonou depending on size.
No sensible country will accede that to private operators because it will expose the country to a great deal of risks.
It does not take much to operate and police safe anchorage. NPA and the Nigerian Navy have promulgated safe and designated safe anchorage positions in all Nigerian Ports. NIMASA as flag state should be able to see that the right thing is done but power and money politics usually take precedence in considering these things not international best practices. Capt Enitan Akanbi (Master Mariner)We don't need a privately operated anchorage in Nigeria. Someone just need to take ownership of the Nigeria water domain and be held responsible for whatever goes right or wrong.The same pirate attack we are experiencing in deep waters is gradually coming to the anchorage, next is the port. All these only show the level of our negligence to vital issues.Go to the prison, you will see lots of seafarers jailed from petty allegations from the Nigerian Navy, but you will hardly see the pirates being paraded or jailed, this is what I call a misplaced priority. There is a major disconnect between the seafarers, the regulatory agency and the Navy. And until that is amended, we will continue to have a round hole with a square peg. It doesn't matter how anyone sees it, truth is the Nigerian waters need a dedicated maritime security.
Pius Ujubonu (Licensed Customs Agent)
The issue of security is a serious matter; it is part of diplomatic obligations of a country on whose territorial waters a foreign ship hoists the flag. Any serious minded country places high premium on security, the Nigeria security apparatus has been very derelict in their approach, as a result, certain levies charged on war risk territories apply to vessels coming to our territorial waters. One may be tempted to suspect a fifth columnist in this insecurity situation within the Nigeria's waters and the Gulf of Guinea in general. Suggesting private operated anchorage indirectly implies that the public anchorage is subject of dereliction of duties of the relevant security agents. It then may seem to mean that those who flew the kite about engaging an Israeli company not too long ago might have had justification or better still vindication for their suggestions. The relevant agencies had better be given attention and sanctions where necessary.
Captain Tajudeen Alao (President, Master Mariners)
Is it different from what they used to do before, that if you anchor your ship, you pay and they will protect your ship from attack? To be sincere with you, it is unethical and unprofessional for a maritime domain to be secured by private anchorage. It is the responsibility of the government to secure our maritime domain. The Navy and NIMASA have a collaboration to do that, with NIMASA providing the intelligence while the Navy will do the critical preparation. To me I have never heard of a private operated anchorage before.
Mr. John Egesi (Ex President, NIS)
Well, there is nothing impossible because the government has a way of getting all these things done. But the problem is how to monitor them without either corrupting them with people that are not supposed to monitor them or bringing in things that should not be brought in, these are the issues. But I think there is need for that, but we have to find a way of monitoring those anchorages.
Rev Jonathan Nicol (President, SALS)
I thought they had already given one out to an Israeli company like that. Well with the government not involved, if a private company can do the job, no problem, but it is very dangerous, anchorage is a very high profile security business. Why the Nigerian government cannot do anything right is an issue that we cannot understand and there are security contracts that if you give to a foreigner it means that we don’t have security and anything can happen. It is not too good for the government to give everything out like that, we have the Police, Army, Navy and all, how come they cannot handle our maritime security? It is not safe for government to even give such high profile security to a foreigner, it means we can be compromised and anything can happen.