Unveils new Customs patrol boats, Onne Ports scanner in Rivers

By Egufe Yafugborhi – Port Harcourt

Comptroller General of Customs (CGC), Col Hameed Ibrahim on Thursday warned that smugglers turning to the maritime space as safe haven from increasing tightened security in the land environment would face even hotter heat in Nigerian waters.

Ibrahim, during the commissioning of 18 Creeks Patrol Boats in Rivers state to boost the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) maritime fleet and also unveiled at Onne Ports, one of three scanners the Customs have acquired for accelerated cargo inspection in mutual benefits for shipping stakeholders.

At the Port Harcourt yard of Sewa West Africa, the patrol boats builder, the CGC before commissioning the fleet stated, “This event marks the beginning of renewed offensive against those who chose creeks and waterways as safe haven for their illegal trade.

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“The boats, consisting 9 logistic support boats and 9 gunboats whose parts are armored, should send clear signals to the criminals that the game is up. Unlike before, we now have boats with flat bottoms that can access the creeks even when the water has receded.

“As we commission these boats which will be deployed for the Southern waters, (the Eastern and Western Marine Commands), I urge our Marine Operatives to use them judiciously in the interest of the nation.”

At the Onne Port to unveil one of the NCS automobile scanning machines, Ibrahim said, “The E-Customs project will bring to the fore, 135 scanners nationwide. That means all borders, land, air and sea will have scanners.

“That is the finality for us, because except you take the bush road or dig a hidden tunnel to smuggle underground, nothing would come or pass through this country that we won’t be able to look at in-depth.”

Ibrahim said with an inspection rate of up to 20 containers in one hour against less than two to three containers in 24 hours hitherto experienced under physical inspection, the presence of scanners would speed up port inspection, improve revenue, and relief shippers of demurrage due to delay.

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