The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has appealed to Nigerian shippers to desist from patronising foreign ships that has foreign guards on board. noting that it is a threat to national security.
This appeal was made by the Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Patrick Akpobolokemi who was represented at the 1st Shippers Day Celebration by the Director of Shipping Development of the agency, Capt. Warredi Enisuoh.
Enisuoh said that for security reason, shippers who patronised ships with foreign guards would not be allowed to discharge their cargoes at the port noting the agency will ensure that such vessels undergo proper check or risked the chance of seizure.
“We have a new problem and the problem is that a lot of new ships come in carrying foreign guards and there is reason to believe these foreign guards are trained in handling of arms, no doubt about it and this poses a lot of danger to your own security,” he said.
He added, “As you all know, a whole lot of arms come in and find themselves in the hands of people possibly not trained to handle them legally. We don’t know whether this is a new frontier in the business.
He also stated that the Agency did not have all it took to curtail all the security breaches but that it would not relent in synergising with security operatives to nip insecurity on the water ways in the bud.
When asked why such ships are not sent back to where they may be coming from, he said that since they had breached the law of the country, they must be prosecuted and not just be left like that.
He added that same action is being taken against Nigerians that flouted the laws of other countries even as he said that many Nigerians were awaiting death penalties in other countries
Enisuoh also said that the owners of wrecks on the Nigerian territorial waters were making it difficult for the agency to discard the wrecks n the waters as they would not cooperate with them.
According to him some of the guards on board such vessels carry arms thus posing serious danger to Nigeria maritime security.
The NIMASA top shot reiterated that some of the guards carry such arms ilegally and there is the need to nip such act in the bud faster.