There are indications that global shipping giant, Maersk Line, spends a humongous $18million to provide a private security onboard their ship whenever they are approaching the Gulf of Guinea for Nigerian waters.
Immediate past Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi gave this indication at the weekend at a send forth party held in his honour by maritime industry stakeholders.
Amaechi narrated how Maersk Line had reported to him about the huge amount they pay to some individuals to provide private security for their vessels.
The former minister described this as “free money” which if ploughed back into the economy of Nigeria could turn things around for good.
Trying to justify the $195m maritime security contract signed between the Federal Government and an Israeli firm, HSLi Global, Amaechi said Nigerian importers were paying war risk surcharges for vessels to berth at Port Harcourt, Calabar and Warri Ports as a result of piracy and activity of militants.
‘Maersk Line told me that they were spending $18million dollars as security on their vessels on Nigerian waters, I asked them, can I quote you on this, and they said yes”
“This is ‘free money’ going into the pockets of some powerful Nigerians at the expense of the country” he said
Recall that the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) Piracy Reporting Centre rated the seas around Nigeria as the world’s most dangerous for piracy.
Of the 75 seafarers taken hostage onboard or kidnapped for ransom worldwide so far this year, 62 were captured in the Gulf of Guinea, specifically off the coasts of Nigeria, Guinea, Togo, Benin and Cameroon.
According to IMB, of the nine ships fired upon worldwide this year, eight were off the coast of Nigeria.
Amaechi has said that the illegal economy on Nigerian waters has hit a $25b yearly, adding that illegal bunkerers in Nigeria are the 7th largest producers of oil in Africa.
He however warned that whether the Israelis deliver on the contract or not, they would get their money and Nigeria would still be on the losing end.