By Ebuka Oko
The National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders, NAGAFF, has expressed their support for the continuation of security assistance provided by Ocean Marine Services Limited, OMS, at the Secure Anchorage Area, SAA, of Nigerian waters.
Speaking to Vanguard Maritime Report, the president of the association, Chief Uche Increase, said the association is satisfied with the security services rendered by OMS in Nigerian regions in collaboration with the Nigerian Navy.
Increase pointed out that the existence of OMS has helped in curbing security challenges faced by vessels coming into Nigeria, as well as reducing the cost of freight charges on the vessels.
“OMS services have helped in the reduction of freight charges on cargo coming to Nigeria because before now, these vessels, when they come, before they get to the berth area, there is the three days sea time given by the terminal operators which usually elapse before the cargo will get to terminal and we pay demurrage unduly to shipping companies as well as storage services charges unduly to terminal operators.
“There has been several issues like the menace of piracy, kidnapping, hijack of vessels within the Nigerian maritime waters, and in the process of trying to strike an understanding to control this, a security platform was created after months of deliberation to checkmate the vices”.
“I implore NPA (Nigerian Ports Authority) to see reason why they should reverse the decision to terminate the MoU signed between them, NIMASA, Navy, and other government agencies and relevant stakeholders in the maritime industry five years ago.
“So, to us the freight forwarders and shipping practitioners, we are advocating that the government should look at the MoU signed with OMS again.
“If NPA is agitating that this contract should be terminated, it should be done holistically in such a way that nobody is trying to shortchange the system, let us see merit in their services. If OMS is exploiting Nigerians, let them cancel the agreement, but if the services they render which we are currently enjoying is good, I implore them to see reasons why they should allow it to continue.
“We are giving support to OMS because of what we have seen so far, we don’t know if the next arrangement NPA is going to bring will be worst than what we are having because what is currently going on in the port is complete exploitation, it is a mafia business”, he concluded.