Across the West African coast, pirate attacks gave rise to the Joint War Committee (JWC) of Lloyds’ of London. JWC pronounced the area from the limit of Togo and Benin republic maritime boundaries all the way along the gulf of Guinea to the maritime boundary of the republic of Nigeria and Cameroon as a ‘War Risk Zone’.
The effect of JWC’s action was that the foreign mother vessels which are usually insured by the Protection and Indemnity club would not risk going into the ‘war risk’ areas because the moment they transgress, their insurance premium increases by more than five times.
Following the launch of Deep Blue Project, the Director General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Bashir Jamoh kick-started a campaign for Nigeria’s removal from the war risk zone.
However, some experts posit that the war risk toga is a commercially-driven decision skewed in favour of some highly placed global giants that are bent on maintaining the flow of income at the expense of the Nigerian economy and its citizens.
These assertions may be true with the Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Jamoh recently lamenting that the international insurance bodies have proffered no yardstick to measure Nigeria’s progress on maritime security to review the war risk insurance premium.
Jamoh, who was speaking during the recent Nigeria International Maritime Summit (NIMS), stressed that the recent activities by the agency, Nigerian Navy and other stakeholders which have resulted in dwindling piracy activities should inform a review of the insurance.
He noted that he had written to the global bodies to provide some indices with which Nigeria could measure its progress to know the key areas that would spur the removal of the disadvantageous insurance clause on the nation.
Ahead of the December International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Council election, the Director General of NIMASA has also called on the international maritime community to support Nigeria’s bid for reinstatement into Category C.
Speaking at the third Seminar of the Atlantic Center in Lisbon Portugal last week, Jamoh sought support from Nigeria’s friends to vote for the country into the council of IMO in the election that comes up in a few weeks time.
He said: “We ask for your vote and count on your continued confidence in the efforts of Nigeria to work in partnership with other nation states in the Gulf of Guinea to continue keeping our corridor of the Atlantic Ocean a safe passage for seafarers, their vessels and the vital supplies they transport for our common sustenance”.
The Director General also requested removal of Nigeria by the global shipping community from designation as a war risk zone which causes increased insurance premium, also explained recent efforts by the Federal Government to make the country’s waters safer for crew members, vessels and cargoes.
He added that deployment of security vessels on waters adjoining the Atlantic Ocean should be in line with international laws without undermining the national sovereignty of countries within West and Central Africa.