The Nigerian Ports Authority has read the riot act to providers of private security and escorts for vessels approaching the Lagos anchorage area.
It has also purchased security vessels for sea patrol to enhance waterfront security at the Lagos ports.
The agency specifically frowned on the exorbitant daily fee of $2000 paid by vessels to private security outfits to secure their vessels against attacks by hoodlums.
During a stakeholders’ meeting in Lagos, the operators had raised concerns over constant attacks on vessels at berth and the amount of money being paid to private security firms by shipping companies to guarantee security.
The Secretary to the Apapa Berthing Meeting, Lucky Egbedi, said, “They have security outfits that vessels now have to pay to and they pay $2,500/day. Why not make the entire anchorage area safe with security and an anchorage due is charged every vessel that is coming to the Lagos anchorage?”
In her response, the Managing Director of the NPA, Hadiza Bala-Usman, said security for vessels at the ports and the anchorage area was the responsibility of the NPA, adding that the authority was doing this in collaboration with the Nigerian Navy.
Bala-Usman, who spoke through the Director, Marine and Operations, Sekonte Davies, said the NPA had procured some security vessels to enhance waterfront security at the ports.
She said, “There is no longer any anchorage addressed as ‘safe anchorage. Today, marine notice has been issued. We are aware that $2,000 is being charged on the first day and every other subsequent day is $1,500. That would not exist anymore from today.
“To provide security is NPA’s responsibility and the Navy has been in collaboration with us to ensure that every anchorage of the NPA is safe. The National Security Adviser and the Chief of Naval Staff are collaborating with us.
“The NPA has procured security patrol boats and we are going to take delivery of some of them in the next six weeks. If not for a few issues, by now, they should have been here which will enhance our waterfront patrols and enhance our security operations.”
Also responding to complaints about fenders and the fact that they were needed to improve vessel dwell time at the ports, the NPA MD said that the procurement process for fenders would soon commence.
“We are also addressing the issue of fenders. We understand the implication that without the fenders, some of the vessels will not call because of the environmental hazards they may get. So that will affect the dwell time.
“We are trying to make sure we look at other ports where some of the fenders are not being used so that we can quickly install them while the procurement process of acquiring other fenders would commence,” she said.
On her part, the Port Manager, Lagos Port Complex, Fumilayo Olotu, addressed stakeholders’ concerns about the dilapidated port access road.
She assured the stakeholders that the port management was collaborating with the Federal Ministry of Works to speed up ongoing construction of the Lagos port access roads. (Punch)