NIMASA raises alarm over ‘ship hijackers posing as ship chatterers’
…UPs ISPS Code implementation
NIMASA’s advisory came via MARINE NOTICE reference number MNI 08/13/SN02, a copy of which was sighted by SHIPS & PORTS DAILY.
The document, which had the title: BEWARE, SYNDICATE SHIP HIJACKERS POSING AS SHIP CHATTERERS, stated inter alia: “The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency has observed a new trend in the clandestine operations of ship hijackers and sea-based robbers syndicate operating in the West African coast.
“Members of the vessels hijack syndicate pose as ship chatters seeking to hire vessels for petroleum liquids ship-to-ship operations.
“Unsuspecting ship-owners and agents are by this notice informed that such chatterers deploy the vessels for forceful and criminal transfer of stolen petroleum products from hijacked tanker vessels.”
Advising ship operators to request valid documentations and clearance issued by relevant regulatory authorities from prospective chatterers or their agents, NIMASA noted that such documentations may be authenticated at the Agency prior to release of tanker ships or barges to supposed chatterers.
“Ship-owners or agents shall be liable for illicit activities of the syndicate who abandon such chattered vessels at sea to evade arrest,” the advisory added.
In a related development, the NIMASA Management had earlier issued MARINE NOTICE MN/0913/SNO1, a copy of which was also sighted by SHIPS & PORTS DAILY, and which was addressed to ship owners, shipping companies, terminal and jetty operators, port facility owners, international oil companies and mariners.
The nation’s apex maritime regulator titled this particular document: INTERNATIONAL SHIP AND PORT FACILITY SECURITY CODE (ISPS CODE) IMPLEMENTATION IN NIGERIA. RE:PORT/TERMINALS FACILITIES COMPLIANCE.
THIS MARINE NOTICE stated in part: “In accordance with the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency Act, 2007, Section 22 (q) and the recognition of the Agency as the Designated Authority (DA) responsible for the implementation and enforcement of the International Ship And Port Facility Security Code (ISPS Code) in Nigeria, ship operators, international oil companies, mariners, terminal and port facilities’ operators are hereby informed as follows:
“Sequel to the just-concluded Verification Inspection Exercise (VIE) of all port facilities in Nigeria preparatory to the re-issuance of Statement of Compliance (SoCPF), the Agency will commence enforcement duties within the next three months to ensure the rectification of identified deficiencies and lapses at the facilities inspected.
“In facilitating this exercise, all port facility owners and respective relevant staff are implored to co-operate with the ISPS Code Enforcement Team of the Agency within the period of this exercise.”
Noting that assigned Recognised Security Organisations (RSOs) will commence Ports/Terminals Security Assessment for facilities not covered in the first phase of the exercise, NIMASA explained that the security assessment exercise will enable the development, review and regulatory approval of the Port Facilities Security Assessment (PFSAs) and Port Facility Security Plans (PFSPs).