…Seeks Single Window Integration with NPA
The Nigerian Navy has declared its renewed resolve to rid the Tin Can Island creeks and others around the Lagos State of criminal elements, even as the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has raised an alarm over attacks on vessels at berth at Apapa port.
Flag Officer Commanding (FOC) Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral Oladele Daji restated the Navy’s resolve when he received the Lagos Port Manager of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) Mrs Bolanle Funmilayo Olotu who paid him a courtesy call yesterday at the Naval base in Apapa.
The NPA manager lamented that vessels are being attacked while at berth in Apapa port by criminal elements from the Tin Can Island creeks, Snake Island, Ogogoro Village among others.
She said the latest one happened recently on a vessel berthed at one of the concessioned terminals; Eko Support.
The FOC however called for integration of the Navy into the Single Window Platform of the NPA called; Command, Control amd Communication Centre, even as he stressed the need for a direct means of communication between all the agencies involved in maritime regulation.
Daji said the issue of robbery and attack within the Lagos channel, particularly the Snake Island, Ogogoro Village among others is rather unfortunate.
He assured that though security within the creeks is under the jurisdiction of the Marine Police, the Nigerian Navy is set to collaborate with Police to address the challenge.
Speaking, he said “Two weeks ago, we got reports of two attacks and I had to call the AIG (Assistant Inspector General) in charge of Marine Police because this is under their jurisdiction”
“They have given us a date that we would meet in order to synergize and put efforts together, indeed the resources are limited.By the time we meet, we would also let you know the efforts we intend to put in place in order to rid that area of the criminal elements”
“The Chief of Naval Staff gave me a marching order when I resumed here that, there must always be the Naval presence at the anchorage areas, we try as much as possible to make sure that on daily basis, we have a smaller boat patrolling the anchorage area, first as a deterrence to robbers and secondly to give confidence to seafarers”
Rear Admiral Daji reiterated that a single window interface among all agencies of government is none negotiable.
The appeal is coming on the heels of a recent fire incident onboard a tanker vessel; MT Sea Voyager that caught fire while it was off Nigerian waters
Speaking on the unfortunate incident, he said “On 14th of August, there was a fire incident onboard a vessel, MT Sea Voyager, NPA promptly responded in the morning when the incident first happened, I saw it live on our maritime domain monitoring system.However, later in the evening at 1700hrs when the fires reignited, it was very difficult to reach both NPA, and NIMASA”
“There should be a direct means of communication between all the agencies, it is necessary more than ever before. If we had not had a vessel on patrol that night, it would have been practically impossible for us to see one of these ships from Navy Town to reach the ship and carry out the rescue.We need to make our systems better so that in case of such incidences, we can quickly deploy resources to tackle it”
He however noted the efforts of NPA in the provision of life buoys and servicing of navigational aids which hitherto where either disfunctional or have moved from position or not even seen at all along the channel.
He appreciated the NPA for their continued support towards the operations of the Nigerian Navy
“We also appreciate the NPA on safety of navigation and regular maintenance dredging of the channel, this has boosted the confidence of mariners and seafarers, perhaps this is why Lagos ports is the most patronized in the country and I would want to urge you and the management to keep this up”
“After my courtesy visit to the MD on my assumption of office, we have experienced greater collaboration both at the headquarters level and the unit level, we undertook a tour of your simulation centre and we made a request to the headquarters that very soon we plan to have a training program at that facility”
“Also as a fallout of pur visit to the MD, we still have some areas that are pending, this on integrating the Nigerian Navy into the NPA Command, Control and Communication system.
This is very necessary because the need for synergy and collaboration, we need it now more than ever before because of the level of threats and challenges on the waterways” he said.
Speaking earlier, NPA Lagos Port Manager, Mrs Funmilayo Bolanle Olotu solicited continued support of the Navy in providing security for vessels coming into the Lagos channel.
She lamented that “We have had pockets of attacks on vessels, recently was one that Ogogoro village, they made attempts at vessels at berth at Eko Support which we feel is not too good for us as a nation”
“For any port to operate successfully, you cannot do it without the support of the Nigerian Navy, we are into the operations of the vessels when they come to our bar, but you are with them out there in the open field and ensuring the safe passage of these vessels along the channel until they start getting to designates safe areas” she said
Olotu equally appreciated the Navy for efforts in decongesting the Apapa gridlock, calling for ideas and suggestions that would help her move the Lagos ports forward.
She noted that the traffic gridlock along the port has not gone away, despite the fact that the Presidential Task Force is making a lot of efforts.