By Godwin Oritse
THE Lagos Maritime Security Zone of the Port Facility Security Officers of Nigeria, PFSON, forum has reacted to the arrested Nigerian stowaways on board ‘M/T Nave Andrmeda’ saying that the incident indicates the failure of the country’s security system.
Speaking to Vanguard Maritime Report, Chairman of the Forum, Dr. Ignatius Uche said that the Nigerian Immigration Service, NIS, is in charge of stowaways in the nations’ ports
Uche who absolved the Port Security Officers over the failed security arrangement in the Port said that the PSOs are not arms carrying personnel adding that they are limited in their intervention in security breach.
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He, however, reiterated that PSO should be allowed to carry arms within the ports so as to be more effective in securing the ports and its facilities.
Efforts to reach the Apapa Port Command of the Nigeria Immigration Service was futile as the numbers of the Public Relations Officer of the Command did not go through when calls were made to his phone lines.
Similarly, Chairman of the Port Consultative Council, PCC, Otunba Kunle Folarin, has said that the ports were not in operation for almost a week, hence surveillance was weak. Folarin also said that before any vessel is set to sail, a thorough check is usually carried out on the vessel by the harbour Master’s office.
He said: “But because of the issue we had in Nigeria last week, the ports were not in operation, so it was impossible to have a full check on vessels.
“Surveillance was weak otherwise, any ship that is sailing must be thoroughly boarded checked by the harbour Master’s office because the harbour Master is the one that brings the pilot on board these vessels to sail the vessel. There must be what is called rhumerages on the vessels before they leave the berths.”
Recall that ten stowaways on board the Liberian flagged M/T Nave Andromeda which arrived from Lagos, Nigeria on Sunday took control of the vessel 20 nautical miles SW Gosport within the English Channel It was however reported that the vessel with IMO number 9580405