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Confusion swamps Nigerian waters … As security service providers battle for supremacy off Lagos

The multi-million-dollar contract the
Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) signed with Global West Vessel Specialist Nigeria Limited (GWVSL), which
granted the private concern an initial 10-year concession to manage the
security of the Nigerian maritime domain may not have ceased to generate
controversy, according to

was learnt that a partnership arrangement the Nigerian Navy (NN) has with two
private maritime security companies – one based in West Africa and other based
in the United Kingdom (UK) –  to secure the waters off Lagos, South-West
Nigeria, could just be a potent rival to the GWVSL, renewing persisting doubts
on the competence of the latter to deliver on its brief as a concessionaire
appointed by Nigeria’s apex maritime regulatory organ, NIMASA, to secure the
nation’s maritime domain.
It would be recalled that the Federal
Ministry of Transport had, on January 5, 2012,  submitted a
paragraph 14 of the memo summarised it, stating that “Council is, accordingly,
invited to:
§   Note that the principal objective
of NIMASA’s activities is to ensure that safety and security of
shipping/maritime trade in a protected marine environment but resource
constraint has made it difficult for NIMASA to acquire the requisite
operational platforms which are needed to effectively patrol and carry out
surveillance of Nigeria’s entire coastline.
§  Note that the Surveillance Operations
will be carried out in collaboration with the Nigerian Navy in line with the
existing Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between NIMASA and the Nigerian Navy
under the Maritime (Guard) Command and structure;
§  Note that the project is aimed at
addressing the challenges in the maritime industry;
§  Note that the scope of works covers
monitoring, patrol, enforcement of conventions and improvement of revenue;
§  note that the platform upon completion
will enhance effective patrol and surveillance of Nigeria’s entire coastline to
achieve total maritime domain awareness;
§  Note that due (to the) national
security nature of the project, direct procurement was adopted to this
procurement under the Public Procurement Act. Section 42 (1) f;
§  Note that due process guidelines, were
followed and the ICRC (Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission) has
approved the PPP (public private partnership) arrangement on a ‘no cure no pay’
basis in favour of Messrs Global West Vessel Specialist Nigeria Limited (GWVSL)
with an initial investment in the sum of USD103,400,000.00 only. Inclusive of
all taxes on a contractor-financed supply, operate and transfer (SOT)
concession for a period of 10 years based on performance;
§  Note that the BPP (Bureau of Public
Procurement) reviewed the procurement process and issued a Certificate of ‘No
Objection’ for the Provision of Platforms for Tracking Ships and Cargoes,
Enforcement of Regulatory Compliance and Surveillance of the Entire Nigerian
maritime domain for Ministry of Transport/Nigerian Maritime Administration and
Safety Agency, in favour of Messrs Global West Vessel Specialist Nigeria
Limited (GWVSL), with an initial investment in the sum of USD103,400,000.00
only, on a contractor-financed supply, (operate) and transfer (SOT) concession
for a period of 10 years and renewable for further two terms of five years each
based on performance as recommended by ICRC and no more to avoid undue monopoly
of the service by concessionaire;
§  Note that the projected amount
accruable to government over the concession period will not be less than N124
§  Note that the President vide letter
Ref. No. PRES/99/MT/61, 9th November, 2011 had granted anticipatory approval
for the project;
§  Note that the Attorney-General of the
Federation/Minister of Justice has reviewed and approved the Draft Agreement;
§  Note that this project is contractor-financed
and does not require any government appropriation;
§  Note that this project will create 1375
job opportunities to Nigerian professionals and non-professionals directly and
1620 jobs indirectly; and
§  Ratify the President’s anticipatory
approval for the concession of the Provision of Security, Monitoring and
Enforcement Operational Platforms on Nigerian Waters to Ministry of
Transport/Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA). In
favour of Messrs Global West Vessel Specialist Nigeria Limited (GWVSL), with an
initial Investment of the sum of USD103,400,000.00. Inclusive of all taxes on a
Contractor-financed Supply Operate and Transfer (SOT) Concession over 10 years
concession period and renewable for further two terms of five years based on
project has since kicked-in into the initial 10-year tenure, in spite of
strident opposition from well-informed stakeholders, who queried the pedigree
of the GWVSL and its capacity and the ability to execute a concession of such
to these stakeholders, the contract awarded to the GWVSL was sensitive and
in the realm of national security.
of the contract had argued then, and are still doing so, that it was a
usurpation of the statutory roles of the Nigerian Navy and the Marine
Police by the GWVSL.
analysts have expressed doubts about the efficacy of the contract, noting that,
thus far, neither the contractor nor its principal(s) rendered data or other
proofs of the contractor’s performance outlook vis-a- vis the intended
objectives of the contract.
the murky security atmosphere of the Nigerian maritime domain is not helped by
a partnership project between the Nigerian Navy, the West Africa-based Ocean
Marine Security Limited (OMS), and the UK-based PGS Group that is purportedly
working to raise awareness on the availability of legalised security options
for ships operating in Nigerian waters.
partnership reportedly established the Secure Anchorage Area (SAA) and Secure
Ship-To-Ship (STS) zone off the coast of Lagos, South-West Nigeria, in 2013 to
service vessels requiring what the promoters describe as a dedicated and
compliant maritime security solution.
10 nautical miles (NM) southwest of the Lagos water channel, the SAA is protected
round-the-clock by multiple armed patrol boats that enforce a maritime
exclusion zone (MEZ) around vessels anchored there, deterring potential
SAA is being marketed as a zone where vessels can anchor safely without fear of
pirate attacks,
zone’s promoters are claiming that it has so far recorded a 100 per cent
success rate since operations commenced.
SAA Managing Director, Nick Dixon, has been quoted as having said
that that the SAA zone, which spans a diameter of five nautical miles just
south of the Lagos Port Complex (LPC), Apapa, has a further diametrical two
nautical miles of exclusive “no sail” zone designed to deter potential seaborne
threats and protected by SAA-owned patrol boats.
the SAA reportedly operates a fleet of 46 armed patrol boats.
organisation is said to be planning to five more units to the existing fleet
patrol boat has 15 personnel of which eight are from the Nigerian Navy to take
up the duties of keeping watch and operating the onboard weapons, ” Dixon was
quoted as having said recently at the residence of the British High
Commissioner in Singapore.
SAA boss said: “In the event of an attack, the engagement by the pirates is
with the Navy, hence all Nigerian naval assets will be mobilised to assist at
no extra cost to the client.
SAA is also the solution recognised by NIMASA, according to him.
what was legal and not legal on the issue of hiring private armed guards in
Nigeria, Dixon reportedly pointed out that there is only one version of a
Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that private maritime security companies need
to obtain if they wish to offer their services in Nigeria.
MoU, according to Dixon, needs to be signed by the Chief of the Naval Staff,
Nigerian Navy.
feel that the Nigerian Navy has privatised themselves and there is a certain
element of truth in it. In order to operate in Nigeria, the private maritime
security companies must own patrol boats approved by the Navy,” the SAA boss
added: “Breaches of the MoU include patrol boats not owned by the private
maritime security companies and patrol boats with no mounted weapons.”
rates on engaging the services of the SAA are $3,000 per vessel for day one and
day two, followed by $1,500 from day three onwards, while additional escort
services attract rates ranging from $4,500 for basic services to $64,000 for
lengthier voyage services, inclusive of bunkers.
at the SAA’s launch in Lagos, the Operations Director, SAA West Africa, Sven
Hanson, said that security was very crucial to Nigeria’s economic growth.
that West Africa currently has limited effective and legally endorsed
protection that will not risk compromising vessel and cargo insurance cover,
Hanson said: “This is because offshore Lagos, the Nigerian Navy does not allow
the use of guards onboard commercial vessels and the Marine Police have no
jurisdiction outside the inland waterways, ports and harbours.”
SAA project, according to him, was conceptualised to help provide ships within
Nigeria’s anchorage area effective maritime solution to boost security within
the maritime exclusive zone.
the importance of the SAA to the West African region, Hanson quoted figures
from the International Maritime Bureau (IMB), which reported that the region
recorded 58 piracy, armed robbery and kidnapping-related incidents in 2012, and
additional 31 incidents by July 2013, while, on the other hand, it was a
decrease from 237 attacks in 2011 to 75 in 2012.
partners in the SAA launch include the Nigerian Navy and the British High
Commission, and also speaking at the event, SAA West Africa Managing Director
said that the launch was a dream comes true for vessels and their crews.
according to him, was especially so for vessels laden with highly-inflammable
Explaining the modus operandi, Dixon said that patrol boats of the
Nigerian Navy ensures that all the potential threats are neutralised at a
significant distance away from the secure anchorage of the SAA’s clients.

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