Insurance premium is set to increase as sea robbers now attack ships at berth at the Federal Ocean Terminal (FOT) and the Federal Liter Terminal (FLT) at Onne Port, Rivers State. Any robbery strike, riots, and civil commotion that could hamper the delivery of goods usually spike insurance premium in the country.
A public notice circulated by vessel captains in the area and made available to journalists by Capt James Falabi over the weekend revealed that there has been an upsurge in ship burgling and criminal activities in the last couple of weeks. Criminals were reported to be gaining access to vessels through fast speed boats and sometimes with canoes fitted with outboard engines and cart away drums of paints, crew coveralls with which they disguise to rob elsewhere and other valuable ship items, including sensitive information materials. Confirming this to LEADERSHIP, president of Nigerian Shipowners Association (NISA) Alhaji Aminu Umar said the attack is not new, saying that the situation has been ongoing for three years.
According to Alhaji Umar, every ship going towards south of Escravos usually goes with their own security, or else they get attacked. In the public notice forwarded to our correspondent, the Nigerian Navy were reported to have arrested few of such situation whilst others escaped. According to the notice “Vessel management are expected to post adequate watch keepers at night and maintain proper lookout, not discountenancing good and live communication means. Whilst in port, all visitors must be logged by the watch keeper, ID cards confirmed, visitor is tagged and bridge informed before entry is granted. “If the vessel is sailing, have adequately trained security personnel onboard if you cannot afford the luxury of escort boat.
Create a safe haven or citadel onboard and educate your crew on proper use of this facility in the event of emergency. “Train your personnel on prompt reporting of any noticeable security breaches. Maritime security is a serious business, just one incident could have devastating impact on your one year profile.” The NISA President on his part said that ships that do not have security is the one that got attacked at berth. “It is unfortunate but that is the situation we found ourselves.”
He questioned the implementation of the ISPS Code by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) as some jetties still remained porous. “In terms of implementation of ISPS, the fact is that our ships are not safe, so we have to take security anytime we are going to any of the ports outside the south of the Escravos, I don’t know what they (NIMASA) are implementing. “There are many terminals that are ninety percent compliant, but there are many terminals that without security, your vessel gets attacked, they use row boats to come onboard if you are at the jetty, so I don’t know about the implementation of their ISPS Code, security situation at most of the jetties is not something that is there,” he said.