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OMSL: Industry stakeholder wants facts to back claims on SAA operations

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As discussions concerning the
stoppage of the Secure Anchorage Area (SAA) services offered by Ocean Marine Solutions continues, founder of the National Association of Government Approved Freight
Forwarders (NAGAFF), Dr. Boniface Aniebonam,
has asked that the records be set straight with facts.

Speaking on the issue, Aniebonam said
that those who believe that the Ocean Marine Solutions may be using Government
platforms to make money should go to the appropriate authorities and validate
their complaints than going about with mere allegations.

It would be recalled that there were
reports recently, alleging that the Ocean Marine Solutions Limited was using
Government vessels to provide security in Secure Anchorage Area (SAA) and
pocketing the money.

Aniebonam said:  “If you think you have facts that the Ocean
Marine is actually using Government structures or facilities to make money,
other than doing what they are supposed to do, then, report the matter to the
appropriate authorities for investigation.

“There should be no point shouting,
because in shouting and shouting; there would be no solution. The best option
is to report to the appropriate authorities, then substantiate it.”
Also speaking on the issue, an
industry watcher, Samuel Egbewole, after sighting the adverts placements by the
Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, as well as the one by the
Nigerian Ports Authority on April 4, 2014, wondered why a problem was being
made out of the allegation.

Egbwole said: “The allegation is
misleading,” noting that not only was the payments received for services
rendered at prior agreed rate with clients, they were even cheaper than what
the NIMASA pays.

“The bogus figures being peddled
around are so far away from reality and can only be a figment of imagination of
the persons spinning them. Maybe, for some ulterior motives.

“From the records I have accessed,
the average number of vessels in the SAA daily was 20, with many of them departing
within days. So, assuming for argument sake, even if they all pay the initial
2,000 dollars for 30 days of the month, and that comes to $60,000; if this is
divided by the 7 patrol boats I understand they operate for the 24/7
protection, the daily rate immediately plummets to $8,572 per boat. The figure
is still cheaper than the $10,500 that NIMASA is reportedly paying to hire
boats for its inland waters enforcement.” 
“I was seriously interested in the
issue when they said one OMS was busy fetching money from the Nigerian waters
using Government platforms. You only need to scratch beyond the surface, to
know it may not be true. Government would own vessels; and one person will be
operating it and be putting the money in his pocket? Does it make sense?

“The platforms belonged to the OMS,
not the Navy, NPA or NIMASA or Government. And it is not in any way costing the
Government anything!’, he noted further, stressing that he sees it like the
current arrangement at the Murthala Mohammed Airport, where everyone,
voluntarily decides to park his car wherever he chooses, with few opting for
the privately run Secure Parking Area, to ensure improved protection, at the
payment of stipends.

“I guess the NIMASA, a highly prudent
government parastatal still accounts for logistics which constitute over 70
percent of operational cost for the marine vessels on 24/7 security deployment,
even in addition to paying the hired fees.”

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