The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved the removal of shipwrecks from Badagry to Tincan Island waterways in order to ensure smooth navigation on Nigerian waters.
Bashir Jamoh, the Director-General of NIMASA, stated during a press conference in Lagos that shipwreck removal will begin soon. Stakeholders and the Nigerian Navy had expressed concern about the impending dangers that shipwrecks posed in Nigerian waters.
He said: “Navigation on our waters is very dangerous now due to shipwrecks. Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) and Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) have responsibilities of removing wrecks. We agreed with NPA and we have commissioned contractors to identify the wrecks and locations in order to have safe navigation. Today, (Friday), the FEC has approved the removal of wrecks from Badagry to Tincan, and the removal will commence any moment from now”.
Jamoh, who expressed optimism about the industry’s current developments, said his administration is pursuing its 3S agenda, which includes security, safety, and shipping development, with a focus on security while not neglecting others.
He said that for the first time, we have our own facilities working together to ensure security on Nigerian waters, referring to the recently launched Deep Blue project.
Two special mission vessels, three special mission helicopters, 16 armoured vehicles, two special mission aircraft, 17 interceptor boats, four unmanned aerial vehicles, a C4i operation centre, special forces/MSUs, and about 600 trained personnel are among the security architecture, according to him.
The NIMASA chief, on the other hand, has called for the immediate suspension of war risk insurance charges levied by international shipping lines on Nigerian-bound cargoes, claiming that piracy in Nigerian waters has decreased dramatically.
Before deployment of security asset, we use to experience attacks almost on daily basis. But after the deployment in February, from December we recorded 10 attacks within the exclusive economic zone. In January, we started operating these items, we recorded one attack in February after the announcement we fully deployed, we recorded zero attacks, March one attack, April – two, May – One. We are yet to see any attack in June.
We started with the deployment of the security architecture to Nigeria’s Economic Zone, now that we have recorded success in that area, we are expanding it to the Gulf of Guinea (GoG). We have established it in the GoG and it is now fully in force. This development has attracted a lot of commendations from the international community.
We are trying to eliminate the stigma on Nigeria, and since we have been able to reduce the attacks, the shipping firms should remove the war risk insurance premium on Nigerian cargoes” he said.
The Lloyd’s List Intelligence had acknowledged Nigeria’s efforts, according to Jamoh, but the group was still insisting on charging for war risk insurance, stating that it wanted to see more commitment from the Nigerian government before taking any action.
He expressed concern about why the surcharge would continue since Nigeria was not at war, noting that this was also an indication that the world was aware of Nigeria’s efforts to check security on the GoG.
According to Jamoh, the international shipping community should reduce the war risk insurance surcharge as a token of appreciation for Nigeria’s efforts.
“The insurance premium should be removed. Nigerians cannot continue to suffer for what they do not understand; the issue in the GoG is not unique to Nigeria, so why should Nigeria bear the brunt of it? We will continue to fight piracy until we are certain that the problem of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea has been resolved.
The fact that Nigeria has already convicted ten criminals under the anti-piracy law, according to Jamoh, shows that the country is making progress in the fight against piracy. He also stated that NIMASA has developed a marine litter action plan to combat marine pollution and control.
“We are not delaying, we are progressing on the disbursement,” he said.