By Godfrey Bivbere
THE collaboration between the Nigerian Navy and Ocean Marine Services, OMS, in the operation of the Secured Anchorage Area, SAA, has led to the reduction of piracy, sea robbery in the Lagos anchorage area.
Disclosing this in an interview with Vanguard in Lagos, the Assistant General Manager, in charge of Business Development at OMS, Comdr. Chuma Adogu (rted), said the collaboration has also led to the reduction of shipping cost in the country.
Adogu explained that the collaboration which entails the provision of platforms by OMS for the Navy for enhanced policing of the SAA, has not only resulted in a more secured operational environment but has also increased the confidence of the international shipping lines calling at the nation’s ports.
He noted that the international shipping lines were forced to provide “war insurance” for any call to Nigeria before the collaboration which led to increase in the cost of shipping business in the country. He said, “Government is buying more platforms for the Navy and the Navy is doing its best but as I said earlier, it is not easy to police our huge coast line. Our operation is also helping in the sense that where ever we are, the Navy does not need to send their platforms there; therefore it is an addition.
“In the final analysis, you are reducing the risk, the capacity of bad people. You are being more at sea, more eyes at sea, you are reducing the risk. The increased capacity has helped these foreign ships that make port calls to Nigeria in terms of the high risk insurance or war insurance that they were forced to pay. This has resulted in the reduction of cost of shipping business in Nigeria and, therefore, reduced the cost of goods since the premium of the shipping companies has reduced. These are some of the things that people who antagonise our operations should consider.”
Adogu explained that the creation of the SAA was the result of a steering committee comprising the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Nigerian Navy and other stakeholders on the instance of the NNPC.
In the words of the OMS boss, “At some point in 2013/14, there was need to streamline the Lagos harbour approaches. The demarcations that were done earlier by NPA and some other agencies were not implementable. The area they marked out for anchorage was too far into the sea and too deep for anchorage. So people were not using it. People were using where they could come closer and so a steering committee which was formed by NIMASA, NPA, NNPC and the Nigerian Navy and all other stakeholders met for over six months to look at the demarcations.
“I think it was NNPC that initiated it, they are the people who bring in petroleum products. They needed some kind of streamlining of the administration of the area. So this committee met for about six months and eventually came up with demarcations which include the Free Anchorage Area, FAA, Secured Anchorage Area, SAA, the No Anchorage Area, NAA, the Free Passage Area, FPA, where you must not anchor and the Ship-to-Ship Transfer Zone.”