By DAPO OLAWUNI
Following reports that the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has cancelled the contract for Secured Anchorage Area (SAA) which seeks to provide security for vessels within the Lagos anchorage, the Merchant Navy Officers and Water Transporters Senior Staff Association has called on NPA to allow the union take on the contract.
This is even as the company in charge of the contract, Ocean Marine Solutions Limited (OMSL) has said that NPA has no powers to disband the contract because it was entered with the Nigerian Navy and not NPA.
In a chat with DAILY TREND NEWS, Vice President of the Merchant Navy Senior Staff, Eng Reginald Oyemnobi revealed that officers of the union are competent to provide the same security solution.
According to him, 70%,of the security provision in the oil platforms in the Niger Delta area of Nigeria is being provided by Nigerian Merchant Navy, adding that the union have been collaborating with Nigerian Navy to secure the oil and gas area.
Speaking of the SAA contract, Eng Oyemnobi described it as a welcomed development, saying that “The Nigerian seafarers under the supervision of the Nigeria merchant Navy will be prepared to collaborate with other security agencies to secure the anchorage, it may interest you to know that over 70% of the security provision in the oil platform in the Niger Delta today is being provided by Nigerian merchant navy as we have been collaborating with Nigerian navy to secure the oil and gas area , in all the security/gun boat patrolling in the region”
“The entire crew between 10 to 15 crew members, from the Master who is in command ,chief engineer to the least rating are seafarers while navy will provide 6 personal for the warfare”
” I therefore request NPA to consider inviting Nigeria Merchant Navy Union for collaboration”
OMSL in a press statement sent to our correspondent on Tuesday had said its collaboration with Navy has contributed to the improved security and tranquility enjoyed today offshore Lagos harbour approaches, through provision of platforms and logistics support that enabled maintenance of security presence at sea necessary to deter the criminal elements.
It says that this has not only given captains of vessels making port calls to Lagos so much peace and comfort, the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) has also downgraded the High Risk Area (HRA) classification for Lagos waters twice recently as a result of the cooperation.
According to OMSL, the 2,000.00 dollars charge per day from vessels is simply to cover the cost of procuring the patrol boats, and providing the logistics to operate them to achieve the round the clock presence required to deter the criminal elements.
It says the SAA is complementing government efforts rather than opposing them and should be encouraged as a successful home-grown solution to make the nation’s maritime domain safer and more secure.