The Nigerian Port Authority (NPA) has said that it is set to take delivery of patrol vessels to enhance waterfront security at the ports.
The NPA had subsequently directed shipping companies not to pay any anchorage dues to private security firms as it would take responsibility to secure vessels at the ports anchorage.
Managing Director of NPA, Hadiza Bala Usman, who disclosed in Lagos on Thursday while speaking at a quarterly stakeholders meeting, was responding to complaints by stakeholders that some private security companies collect as much as $2,000 per day to secure vessels against attack outside the Lagos anchorage.
The stakeholders had raised concerns over constant attacks on vessels at berth; calling on NPA to increase patrol of the waterfront and put in place well coordinated efforts to address the menace.
“Every two months, pirates come on board and attack our vessels at berth. This means patrol need to be increased and be more coordinated. If the Marine Police and the Navy are actually taking part in the internal water surveillance, then we need to understand what is actually going wrong. Once the pirates launch attack on the vessel, they operate freely and leave freely, nobody challenges them and they leave through the waterfronts,” the General Manager, Operations of Greenview Terminal, Lagos Port Complex Apapa, Yakubu Abdulahi, said at the meeting.
Represented by Executive Director, Marine & Operations, Dr. Sekonte Davies; Bala Usman assured that NPA was in partnership with the Nigerian Navy with a view to strengthening waterfront security at the port.
“Today, Marine Notice has been issued. There is no longer any anchorage addressed as safe anchorage. We are aware that $2,000 is being charged on the first day and every other subsequent day is $1,500. We know that it is increasing charges and that would not exist anymore from today. To provide anchorage is NPA’s responsibility and the Navy has been in collaboration with us to ensure that every anchorage of NPA is safe. The National Security Adviser and the Chief of Naval Staff are collaborating with us.
“NPA has procured security patrol boats and we are going to take delivery of some of them in the next six weeks. If not for a few issues, by now, they should have been here which will enhance our water front patrols and enhance our security operations,” the NPA chief said.
Bala Usman also said that NPA would soon commence procurement process for acquisition of fenders for the various berths in the port to replace bad ones.
“We are also addressing the issue of fenders. We understand the implication that without the fenders, some of the vessels will not call because of the environmental hazards they may get. So that will affect the dwell time. We are trying to make sure we look at other ports where some of the fenders are not been used so that we can quickly install them while the procurement process of acquiring other fenders would commence,” she said.
Speaking on concerns raised over the dilapidated port access roads, the Port Manager of Lagos Port Complex, Apapa, Mrs. Fumilayo Olotu, said that the port management was collaborating with the Federal Ministry of Works to speed up ongoing construction of the port access roads to ensure that port operations are not negatively affected.