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SIFAX Group Decries Attacks On Vessels At Lagos Port

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Indigenous terminal operator, SIFAX Group has raised the alarm over incessant attacks on vessels at berth by sea-robbers and hoodlums. SIFAX Group is the operators of Ports and Cargo Terminal at the Tin Can Island port of Lagos.

Group executive vice-chairman of SIFAX Group, Dr Taiwo Afolabi disclosed this at the weekend during the 4th edition of Taiwo Afolabi Annual Maritime Conference (TAAM) with the theme, “Innovation and Practical Reforms Towards Sustainable Growth in the Maritime Sector” which held in Lagos.

Lamenting the aggravated attacks on vessels at berth at various terminals on the nation’s seaports, Afolabi who was represented by the managing director of SIFAX Group, Mr Adekunle Oyinloye, appealed to the government and its relevant agencies to further fortify the nation’s coastal areas and maritime boundaries against maritime crimes.

Even though he commended the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) for getting the presidency to sign the Anti-Piracy Bill into law, he advised that this should not just end there, adding that there should be a campaign for more funding for maritime security.

Afolabi also noted that piracy attacks on ships at various terminals had led to the introduction of war risk surcharges on consignments heading to Nigeria by many shipping lines.

He further stated that relevant government agencies should further fortify the nation’s coastal area and maritime boundaries against maritime crimes.

“While I commend the support of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), I want to say that attacks on ships, either at berth, anchorage or off our coastal area, can effectively be tackled with the right approach.

“I want to commend the Federal Government, through the various efforts of regulatory agencies in the maritime sector such as the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), NIMASA and Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), for its policy of linking some of the ports to the national rail network.

“With this policy, cargoes can be evacuated by rail from Apapa ports to the hinterland. Government’s initiative of moving cargoes from the ports to the inland dry ports and container freight stations is a welcome development and must be seen to the end,” Afolabi said.

He said that in spite of several maritime laws and port reforms, there should be more policies, reforms and most importantly, a strong implementation mechanism.

Afolabi, who is also the consul-general of the Republic of Djibouti in Nigeria, said that in spite of various challenges, the Nigerian ports reforms policy, which brought the private sector into ports operations, was indeed a huge success.

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