Concerned by threat to national security and the cost of doing business at the country’s seaport, the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has notified the Nigerian Navy of its decision to dismantle the Secure Anchorage Area (SAA), operated on behalf of the Navy by a private company, OMSL Limited. NPA insisted that the security of the country’s waterways was the statutory responsibility of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Marine Police, and Nigerian Navy, which must all ensure a safe and secure Nigeria territorial waters.
The move by NPA has been hailed by stakeholders in the maritime sector, who claimed the initiative was timely to stave off a financial burden that the consulting company had brought on them.
A Secure Anchorage Area is an area outside the Lagos port that the Nigerian Navy, with a private company, has defined as a secure place where vessels can anchor safely from the threat of pirate attack.
THISDAY investigation reveals that vessels are charged $2,500 for the first day at the anchorage and $1,500 for subsequent days.
Numbers obtained by THISDAY also reveals that it takes between 28 and 30 days for a vessel to exit the anchorage.
According to vessel traffic numbers obtained from the NPA, 1,666 vessels called at the Lagos ports alone in a quarter and a minimum of 55 per cent of vessels that call at the Lagos port stays at the SAA.
This means that OMSL Limited, allegedly, owned by a prominent politician penciled to challenge Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki for the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship ticket in 2020, on behalf of the Nigerian Navy, collects, averagely, $133.28 million (N47.98 billion) annually. It has been collecting this fee since 2014.
Worried by this, the Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Amaechi, had directed the NPA to write a letter to the Chief of Naval Staff to request that the Navy stopped the operation of the facility. The NPA, in the letter, stated that the revenue generated from the operation at a charge of $1,500 per vessel per day from 2014 to date was neither remitted to it nor the federal government.
NPA argued that the patrol boat, NNS Dorina P101, as mother vessel, and the interceptor vessels, NNS Agede P258 and NNS Torie P259, were all purchased by it for the Nigerian Navy to patrol the anchorage and not to be designated for use at a facility that has no relationship with it.
Source: This Day. Continue reading…