Ship owners and Masters Mariners have demanded for adequate and robust security for in-coming vessels at anchorage, especially after the Federal Government cancelled the Ocean Marine Services Limited (OMSL) contract at the Secured Anchorage Area (SAA) in Lagos.
Recall that the Federal Government recently announced the cancellation of the Secure Anchorage Area (SAA) contract that was being handled by Ocean Marine Solutions Limited (OMSL) over bribery allegations.
The contract, in which OMSL, in partnership with the Nigerian Navy, has been providing security services to foreign ships calling at the ports in Lagos at $2,000 per day at a designated area called the Secured Anchorage Area, became controversial when the Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, in February last year announced its cancellation.
The ownership of the company had also recently become a subject of controversy between two business moguls, Captain Hosa Okunbor and Dr. Tunde Ayeni.
Reacting to the cancellation, ship owners in Nigeria commended President Muhammadu Buhari for taking the bold steps, stating that it is only in Nigeria that ships at anchorage pay for security.
They called for a robust security formation at the anchorage against external attacks.
Speaking to our correspondent, immediate past President of the Nigeria Indigenous shipowners Association (NISA) Mr. Aminu Umar commended the president for canceling the contract, but urged the federal government to provide a safe anchorage for ship owners, he informed that the federal government has mandated the Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to take over the area and ensure the protection of ships at the anchorage area.
“What the ship owners require is a safe anchorage, an anchorage that will be under control and guarded by security operatives, we learnt that the President asked NIMASA to be in charge of the secured anchorage area, so we need to ask NIMASA how prepare they are to protect ships at the secured anchorage area”.
Also speaking, the President of the National Association of Masters Mariners (NAMM) Capt. Tajudeen Alao commended the President for canceling the OMSL contract, he also noted that there is need to have a robust maritime security at the sea, while pointing out that the budget for Nigeria Navy for protection of vessels on Nigeria waters is not enough.
Alao suggested that the sea protection levy paid by foreign ships coming to Nigeria should be channeled to the Navy in other to protect Nigeria waters.
According to him, “we commend the President for this move and we say kudos, but there is need to have a robust security in this area, but the problem is that the budget for the Nigeria Navy is not enough, so if the government can supplement the Navy with the fund paid by foreign ships coming to Nigeria, there is a sea protection levy paid that money should be channeled to the Navy, so that all the sea area up to 200 nautical miles will be protected, because the cost of fighting back just like Boko Haram will be too astronomical, so we need to be on ground and do what we call deterrence to avoid spending the meager resources” he stated.