With over 3,000 shipwrecks littering Nigeria’s coastline, 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.
The Director-General, NIMASA, Bashir Jamoh, who disclosed this during a chat with the media in Lagos, said the removal of shipwrecks will soon commence Stakeholders and the Nigerian Navy had raised alarm over the impending dangers shipwrecks posed on the 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 developments in the industry so far, said his administration is pursuing vigorously its 3S agenda, which covers security safety, and shipping development, while prioritising security and not leaving others out.
Emphasising the recently launched Deep Blue project, he said, for the first time, we have our own facilities working together to ensure security on Nigerian waters.
He listed the security architecture to include two special mission vessels; three special mission helicopters, 16 armoured vehicles, two special mission aircraft, 17 interceptor boats, four unmanned aerial vehicles, C4i operation centre, special forces/MSUs, and about 600 trained personnel.
The NIMASA boss, however, called for immediate suspension of war risk insurance being charged by international shipping lines on Nigerian-bound cargoes, noting that piracy has reduced drastically on Nigerian waters.
“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
Jamoh said the Lloyd’s List Intelligence had acknowledged the efforts by Nigeria, but added that the group was still insisting on charging the war risk insurance, saying it wants to see the more commitment by the Nigerian government before any action could be taken.
Noting that this was also an indication that the world was aware of Nigeria’s efforts on checking security on the GoG, he expressed concern on why the surcharge will continue since Nigeria was not at war.
Jamoh said what the international shipping community should do as a demonstration of appreciation of efforts of Nigeria was to at least reduce the war risk insurance surcharge.
“They should remove the insurance premium. Nigerians cannot continue to suffer for what they don’t know about, the issue in the GoG does not only have to do with Nigeria, so why will Nigeria suffer for it. We will continue the battle against piracy until we are sure that the issue of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea is eliminated.
Jamoh said the fact that Nigeria has already convicted 10 criminals under the anti-piracy law, shows that it is progressing in the fight against piracy.
Also, he said NIMASA has devised marine litter action plan to address the issue of marine pollution and control.
On the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF), he assured the indigenous ship-owners that the process is close to completion, while disbursement of the fund will come in no distance time.
“We are not delaying, we are progressing on the disbursement,” he said.