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Shippers Council, Navy Collaborate To Tackle Insecurity On Waterways



Worried by the activities of armed robbers and sea pirates disturbing the activities at the Nigeria waterways, the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) and the Nigerian Navy have agreed to collaborate to tackle these menace.

This was revealed yesterday when the executive secretary of the NSC, Hassan Bello led a delegation of his agency to the headquarters of the Nigerian Navy, seeking a more robust partnership between the organisations.

This is even as the chief of the naval staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ekwe Ibas, assured that the navy was committed to ensuring safer maritime sector.

Speaking at the function, Bello said, “The Nigerian Shippers’ Council as the economic regulator of the port sector has the responsibility to ensure efficiency at the ports and indeed the entire transport sector with respect to cargo.

“We aim to reduce the cost of doing business at the ports by streamlining costs tariffs and charges; encourage investment and promote ease of doing business in the sector. Thus, the Council facilitates trade and promotes fair trade practices.

“However, one of the major challenges in the maritime sector is security. We have received various complaints from the shipping companies, who have been forced to provide their own security to escort their vessels to port (especially at the eastern ports) In spite of their efforts, between 2017 and 2018, there has been 88 attacks in the Niger Delta.

“The cost of providing their own security is passed on to the consignee contributing to the high cost of the product market.In addition, due to the high level of maritime security incidents in the Gulf of Guinea, the War Risk surcharge is imposed on Nigeria. This impacts on freight charged on Nigeria bound cargo.
“The security challenges in the maritime sector contributes immensely to the competitiveness of our nation’s ports, impedes trade and affect the nation’s gross domestic product.”

While responding, the chief of the naval staff said, “The Nigerian Navy have a trinity approach in containing maritime security, surveillance , response and enforcement. I want to state here that our surveillance capability is been enhanced daily. With the number of ships and the maritime domain awareness infrastructure that Naval have acquired in the recent past, it is very easy for the Nigerian Naval to see what is happening in our maritime space.

“We are also building capacity to respond appropriately to such challenges. One area that has been of serious concern is that of enforcement which is also tied to the legal framework and the harmonised standard operating procedures which was drawn up to assist this aspect. Of course, as we speak, in 2018, we arrested 40 vessels and have in our custody over 150 persons which have handed over to the various prosecuting agencies. For last year alone and this year, all together we h

ave over 130 vessels that were seized or arrested for complexity or maritime crime .”
The two organisations also agreed to form a cWWommittee that would see to the enforcement of the agreement reached at the meeting.