The Nigerian Ship owners’ Association (NISA) has lamented the recent spate of pirates attacks on Nigerian waters even as it called on the federal government to urgently take steps to tackle the situation as it is giving a negative reputation to the country.
President of the association, Aminu Umar while speaking at a press briefing in Lagos on Wednesday said the situation has made insurers raised the premium on vessels coming to Nigeria because the country has been classified as a high-risk area.
“With these attacks now which has been consistent for weeks, our war risk insurance has gone up. I cannot give the percentage because they just notified me now. It would be high for every vessel that is going to stay permanent in Nigeria particularly us that are trading within the Nigerian waters, so it might skyrocket to twice or three times of what we are already paying.
“Even crew that are ready to work with you now, countries will now start telling them don’t come to Nigeria. I cannot quantify the loss of what the impact would be financially on us, so we will again write to government and take it up with them because it is unfortunate,” he said.
He said with the attacks now beyond small vessels to crude tankers, the revenue loss would be high for the country as over 90 percent of Nigeria’s income depends on revenue from crude oil sale.
He lamented that despite the sea protection levy paid to the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to ensure that every ship that comes to the country is protected; pirates’ attacks have been on the increase.
To this end, he said his association would engage the Nigerian Navy to know what it is doing to curtail the situation.
According to him, “We did not perceive any form of conspiracy or inadequacy on the part of the concerned authority but until we make contact with the Nigeria Navy, we cannot say what exactly is happening.
“But I can say the loss to the nation especially now that the attacks have gone beyond small vessels to a crude tanker that is waiting to load, is not just for ship owners but for the entire country.
’90 percent of Nigerian revenue depends on crude tankers and if they are not safe, that would not want them to come to Nigeria.”
While calling on government to ensure quick passage of the anti-piracy bill to curb criminalities on the waterways, Umar charged concerned authorities to acquire modern equipment and increase patrol on Nigerian waters to keep it safe.
Umar also debunked media reports that he planned to NISA for the rival Ship Owners’ Association of Nigerian (SOAN).
He said, “This is absolutely incorrect. It is something laughable. I have seen some write up on that which is on true. I have no reason to leave NISA to join any other association. As a matter of fact, the President of SOAN is a member of NISA, so how can I, a NISA member, go to SOAN again. I don’t know who is spreading that untrue information.”
He said the country was losing 700 million dollars monthly (N137.9 billion) to dominance of crude oil shipment by foreign shipowners.
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