and the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) have seemingly shared the souls of
the nation’s anchorage, with the bandits taking over Bonny, the NPA taking over
Lagos, even as Government gives Promissory note on Warri Anchorage.
by NOMMA showed that whereas any pirate who may operate in Lagos anchorage may do
so with fear and trepidation, any vessel or government agency that would
operate within the Bonny channel or anchorage would similarly betray same
according to investigation, shipowners plying the Bonny Zone either have to pay
ship protection fee to the hoodlums; or dare his ship, with a full load of self
engaged armed security operatives.
by NOMMA also showed that the NPA is to blame for the pathetic state of the
anchorages, where there is failure to provide assets to aid navigation.
a Shipowner and President of the Nigeria Shipowners Association (NISA), Aminu
Umar confirmed NOMMA investigation, describing the Warri Anchorage as a very
out that the Lagos anchorage is the only one anyone can sincerely lay a
reasonable claim of safety or security, the revered shipowner added:
“There is another one in Warri, Delta State, which is a tough one. Many
vessels are afraid of that place. Iin fact, international vessels don’t drop
anchor there. Even as for a Nigerian going there, our insurers charge us higher
because it is considered as an unsafe area.
anchorage is the one in Bonny, Rivers State. This one is considered totally
unsafe. So, no vessel stays there”, he explained, that even the Lagos
anchorage still suffers attacks by sea robbers, in offshore Lagos.
I said, Bonny anchorage is the most dangerous. No vessel is able to anchor
there. And in my own thinking, the security of any anchorage falls within the
domain of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) because anchorages are under the
NPA and they should be able to maintain the security for vessels to be safe
when they come there. Unfortunately the NPA is not doing so for now.
next infrastructure is moving from anchorage to the berth.
we want to see is that the channels are well dredged and correctly charted and
clearly marked, so that navigation is well aided. A vessel cannot see under the
water, so it needs to be directed through the aids to navigation for it to find
some of those channels have no buoys, so the captains of the ships only work by
intuition of the Pilot who everybody believes knows where the vessels is
supposed to be going. But, remember, this asset is worth millions of dollars
and it is insured. Insurance is clearly stated to you that you only go to
places that are channelled and marked.
majority of the Nigerian water channels are not marked, it means you are in
negligence of whatever you are doing based on your insurance terms. This is
what we are facing. That is why we say the infrastructure is not there.
the vessels need assistance of the tug boats to assist the vessels to come
along side. There are many places today in Nigerian ports where there are no
tugboats. And every ship that goes into port pays for these tugboats to the
NPA. We pay them and they don’t deliver it and they don’t refund the money to
have had experiences of so many accidents that have caused damages to our
vessels because there were no tugboats to support the ship, or because the
channels were not clearly marked, as a result of which vessels would leave the
channels and go to hit fishing nets owned by local fishermen and we would pay
fines. The NPA does not come to your rescue at that, even though the
channels belong to them and you pay for harbour services.
other parts of the world, there is no way you have fishing nets in a vessel
channel area. There are designated fishing areas that vessels don’t transit
through. Where the vessels pass through, fishing does not take place there,
especially spreading nets.
fishing net can spoil the ship propulsion. The moment the net entangles the
propeller, it goes into the rope guard and breaks the seal. The seal lubricates
the propulsion, so when it is broken it is problematic. We had an experience
when that happened and it cost us millions of dollars, for a fishing net that
may cost only N100,000.
lost so much on that ship. The price was huge as it took the ship five months
to get back to work. But, it is the responsibility of the NPA to take the
vessel to safe harbour. If there is a fishing net, then it is unsafe for the
vessel. In the event the vessel comes in contact with a fishing net in a
community that has put the net along a channel, it means it is illegal for them
to do that. It is the NPA that should handle that, not the shipowner, because
we have paid for that service.
shipping globally, every movement of the ship is guided by a chart, which are
updated quarterly or bi-annually, and they give you what the depth of the water
is. But we move mainly on uncharted areas because nobody knows the depth. It is
just like walking blindly on an area you don’t even know. That is how we have
been moving around and we have suffered so many loses, and no assistance from
anybody, none of the agencies.
you are left on your own. There is actually no equipment and mechanism in our
maritime sector to handle accidents. If there is today a maritime accident,
those involved would be left to their own fate.
the development, an industry watcher blamed the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA),
noting that in the beginning the nation’s anchorages were safe until the NPA
began to neglect the sanctity of the navigational equipment and
anchorage was initially safe. But when NPA began to neglect the timely
replacement of stolen or missing buoys or dredge vital areas; focusing mostly
on Lagos, the problems began.
result was that the Lagos anchorage has today emerged a safe zone. While the
safety of any other anchorage outside Lagos is truly in doubt.
Nigeria, everything is politics. You can even see it in the life of the present
administration. The first two years was work, work, work! You can’t say
exactly the same of the months ever since,” the Industry watcher stated
further, speaking on conditions of anonymity.
efforts to obtain an official reaction of the NPA was hard, but finally a
response came, even though late, with the Image maker of the Authority, Engr. Adams Jato, seemingly speaking volumes without really
saying anything, concretely.
have various types of infrastructure on ships arrival at anchorage and when
berthing at the quay depending on the need. These infrastructure are well in
place and upgraded often”, Engr. Jato stated, without indicating when or
the nature of the equipment.
have recently surveyed the Anchorage areas in Warri and Calabar. They are safe
Lagos Anchorage is expected to be surveyed as soon as the procurement process
is completed. There is actually no difference in the two anchorage they are
just described by location. The security situation in Niger delta make
Bonny anchorage an issue and the JTF are always on ground to protect the ship
at the anchorage.
significant works have been done on warri – dredging, survey, some Aids to
Navigation are in place.
Calabar, expected works are in the Procurement process”, the image maker
further highlighted, advising that further equiry should be directed to the
the depths of our channels are published in our websites and the updates are
contained in the regularity published notices to mariners. These are published
and on our website.”
is an existing collaboration among the agencies of government operating in the
ports; so responsibilities can fall on various entities in case of an
accident,” he finally concluded.
Maritime Industry watcher, Samuel Egbewole, in a swift reaction noted that it
was either the image maker didn’t know the enormity of his office, he was
exhibiting the pronounced characteristics of playing further politics.
ship owners look forth to seeing improvement in areas where they have experienced
challenges and hope government would take up its responsibility to boost operations
in the maritime industry in Nigeria.