On going attacks on the oil rich Niger Delta area of Nigeria by the military Joint task Force (JTF) in search of militants have started taking its toll on the activities of oil servicing vessels; most of which have been forced out of the region.
On a good day, oil servicing vessels are common sight on the waterways from Bonny to Lagos, but all that has stopped as the
Shipping Position Weekly investigations revealed that most of the vessels have left Rivers and Delta sates and are currently at the Lagos anchorage; a development that may adversely affect operations in the oil and gas industry.
The development comes about three weeks after we reported that port operators and users in Port Harcourt and Onne ports have become apprehensive as result of the attacks which started in Delta state.
We had reported then that there were confirmations of the scary situation and that an official of one of the terminal operators had told Shipping Position Weekly that “the Warri crises have already affected us, ships have refused to come in for fear of being caught in the cross-fire or attack by the militants. So they are all just staying put, watching the situation.”
Other port users had also agreed that there have been a lull in business activities and that uneasy calm permeates the ports, but expressed optimism that it is only a temporary set-back which will normalize after the crises. “It is true that vessels have stopped coming, but they will come when the crises is over,” one of the maritime operators said. Port Harcourt and handles bulk and dry cargoes and does not discharge oil vessels.
Some members of the Indigenous Shipowners Association (ISAN) confirmed to our correspondents that their members had to recall their vessels to Lagos in response to the military onslaught.
Prior to the attacks, supplies to oil companies were done mainly by supply boat, but the venture has become very risky.
Also confirming the effect a member of the Ship Chandlers Association said that effect of the crisis is beginning to take its toll on their businesses, adding that both the vessels owners and the suppliers are the worst hit.