Recently, the umbrella body for the pilots, the Niger-Delta River Pilots Association had openly acknowledged the intervention of the state governor Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan in the rift over pilotage of vessels from Escravos Bar to Benneth Island and from Escravos Bar to Koko.
In a letter of notification of the resolution of the issue addressed to Governor Uduaghan which was sighted by Shipping Position Weekly and which was signed by association’s Managing Director, Captain Charles Tobi, it commended the governor for his intervention, which according to the group, contributed to the settlement of the long dispute.
Our source confirmed that part of the resolution was that a roster of the local pilots of Escravos will be compiled and sent to the NPA harbour master at Warri port for verification of persons going on board vessels at any time, while local pilots should always put on their official uniform anytime they were on duty.
But in a complete turn around from the purported agreement, NPA has dissociated itself from any agreement saying that it was not ready to abdicate its responsibility to any group.
In a statement titled “re: compulsory pilotage regime in warri pilotage
district – a rejoinder”, NPA maintained that “at no time did Management of the Authority hold any meeting with this group with intent to endorse act of illegality of allowing anybody to breach the law of the country by carrying out illegal pilotage within compulsory pilotage district”.