A civil society group – the Niger Delta Youth Coalition on at the weekend alerted the Presidency of a grand design been perfected by a UK-based marine security company working in concert with local collaborators to extort foreign ship owners whose vessels ply the Nigerian waterways.
In a letter of concern signed by the President of the group, Comrade Ebipade Jackson and its Secretary Comrade Tony Gbemudu, and addressed to President Muhammadu Buhari, the group described as unwholesome activities being carried out around the various ports along the Bonny Channel by a foreign company located in Exeter in the United Kingdom, with the connivance of an indigenous marine services provider based in Calabar, Cross Rivers State and some navy personnel.
The group revealed that the foreign company has been putting out announcements internationally, claiming to have established a Safe Anchorage Area along the Bonny Channel designed to provide protection for vessels whilst at anchorage and also while conducting STS operations, “with a view to charging huge illegal fees from foreign ship owners to whom they portray our ports and the country as a war zone and paint a horrible picture of piracy, kidnapping and all manner of crimes in the nation’s water-ways to raise alarm and extort from them.”
The civil society group further revealed that “all manner of illegal activities are being carried out at the so called safe anchorage area located at about 12 nautical miles west of Bonny Fairway Buoy at 04 15 35 N / 006 47 30E, around 12 nautical miles from the coastline. The BSA is said to be 1.5 NM in diameter with an additional 3 NM Maritime Exclusion Zone (MEZ) enforced around the main BSA, and served by a Mother ship.”
Copyright Ships & Ports Ltd. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit given to www.shipsandports.com.ng as the source.