PIRACY: Nigeria Exit Countries Paying War Insurance Premiums on Shipping

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There are indications that the effective collaboration between the Nigerian Navy, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and other foreign stakeholders on maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea has finally yielded a good result as Nigeria yesterday exited countries paying War Insurance Premium for Shipping.

Disclosing this in Abuja on Thursday, Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Gambo said that Nigeria owing to improved naval operations at Nigeria’s maritime domain and enhanced security architecture in the country’s sea lanes, Nigeria has been removed from the list of countries paying War Insurance Premium on ships whose destination is Nigeria by Llyods of London, United Kingdom.

The war insurance premium meant that cargo ships and other vessels plying the Nigerian route or whose destination was Nigeria, paid significantly higher premium on insurance due to heightened security fears and attacks including piracy which were a frequent occurrence in the past before the Nigerian Navy overcame the criminal activities of pirates in the country’s sea lanes and maritime domain.

Admiral Gambo noted that “with the removal of the tag, insurance premium to be paid by ships doing business with, or plying Nigerian sea lanes will become normal insurance paid by other countries which is less expensive and will enhance shipping/cargo trade”
Similarly the Nigerian Navy has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) through the Navy Holdings Limited (NHL) and Akewa Global Services for the Upgrade and reactivation of the Burutu Dockyard and building of a Naval Logistics Base to be located at Burutu, in Delta State.

The MoU on the Burutu Dockyard reactivation/development which is a Nigerian project, aimed at decongesting land transport challenges while reviving inland waterways transport that was abandoned at the jetty since the 1960s.

On the MoU, the CNS said, “It is with great delight that I welcome everyone to this unique collaborative initiative, which is the signing of Memorandum of Understanding between the Navy Holdings Limited and Akewa Global Services Limited.

“This partnership with the Nigerian Navy is to revive the dock facilities, by upgrading and modernizing the facilities to support maritime commerce, especially in preparation for the take-off of the regional Sealink Inland Water Cargo Transportation.

“This will greatly assist in the movement of bulk cargoes from Nigeria’s hinterland thereby boosting our country’s non-oil export, especially solid minerals and agricultural exports.

Gambo said the desire to safeguard the nation’s maritime domain for socio-economic activities to thrive, prompted the Nigerian Navy to collaborate with Akewa Global Services Limited adding that signing of the MoU is the beginning of good things and better relationships between both organisations and by extension, the good people of Burutu Community.

“It is my hope that this collaboration would continue to blossom and yield expected dividends that could rid the nation’s maritime environment of activities of criminal elements and economic saboteurs while attracting desired development to both parties and the nation at large”, he said, adding “Undoubtably, this collaboration will further position the Nigerian Navy to support government’s development of sustainable Blue Economy”.

Explaining the legal basis for the MoU, Admiral Gambo said, “Pertinently, the Presidential Executive Order 5 of 2nd February 2018, allows Ministries, Departments and Agencies to partner or engage reputable indigenous professional companies in Joint Venture relationships in realization of corporate objectives.

“Accordingly, this partnership with Akewa Global Services Limited stands to yield great benefits in Local Content Development in the areas of shipbuilding technology as well as other aspects of science and engineering”.

“Therefore, while the Nigerian Navy benefits in enhancing the turnaround maintenance of her vessels, the good people of Burutu Community would also derive maximum benefits from employment opportunities and corporate social responsibilities that would arise from this collaboration. This partnership will also lead to the establishment of a standard Base to facilitate all round security of the facility, the community and the entire region.

Articulating other objectives of the MoU, the CNS said, ,’My vision for the Nigerian Navy is to leverage all factors of national location, technology, training teamwork and synergy to re-energize the Service and enhance her as a well-motivated and ready naval force in the discharge of her constitutional mandate in fulfilment of national security objectives.

“To achieve this, one of the policy thrusts of my administration is geared towards renewal and re-invigoration of the Nigerian Navy Fleet. The strategic objective of this Fleet Renewal Project is to develop and sustain the right mix of ships and assets capable of sustaining presence of the Nigerian Navy across the span of the nation’s maritime domain.

“Undoubtedly, attaining this objective requires standard shipbuilding capability, repairs and maintenance facilities to enhance operational availability of Nigerian Navy platforms towards curtailing maritime crimes that undermine economic prosperity of our great nation.

“Although the Nigerian Navy operates 2 shipbuilding and repair facilities, namely the Naval Shipyard Port Harcourt and Naval Dockyard in Lagos, it is believed that this collaborative efforts to develop the Burutu Port and utilize existing shipyard facility, would act as a force multiplier to the Nigerian Navy in ship maintenance and repairs particularly in the Central Naval Command area of responsibility”.

‘This would further enhance securing the maritime domain as well as protection of critical maritime assets therein. Certainly, the dockyard would be leveraged towards building needed platforms including barges and small TV”, he added.

The CNS thereafter appreciated t
President Muhammadu Buhari for empowering the NN towards actualization of it’s constitutional mandate, and both ministers of Defence and Transport for their support and guidance toward ensuring safety and security within the maritime domain.

Chief Kenneth Donye, Chairman of Akema Global Services in his remarks recalled that Burutu Dockyard built by the colonial masters during their early trade mission to the Niger Delta Coast in the early 20th century, played a very crucial role in the then lucrative inland waterway transportation that existed upto the late sixties, when inland waterway transportation drastically declined in Nigeria as well as the Burutu dock business.

“The partnership with the Navy is to revive this dock, by upgrading and modernising the facilities to handle modern maritime challenges, especially in the preparation of the take off of the Regional Sealink Inland Water Cargo Transportation, which will greatly help in the movement of bulk cargo from the Nigeria’s hinterland resulting in a boost of our country’s non-oil export, especially for solid mineral and agricultural exports.

He commendedI the Chief of Naval Staff for approving the partnership, which Include the establishment of both Naval and Commercial Logistic bases in. Burutu, that will help boost security in the area, as well as increase shipping and other maritime activities for both the oil and non-oil industries.

“This will also Improve the lives of several communities within the Niger Delta Region, Eastern Region, and the Northern Region, from where most of these bulk cargoes will be transported through the naturally gifted Rivers Niger and Benue Inland Water Channels” he said.

“What gladdens me most in this partnership, is the Naval security architecture that will be put to bear in these areas of operation. This will help de-stigmatize Burutu and environ as a security prone area and help attract both local and foreign investors to unlock the investment potentials of this area, which will ultimately translate to wealth creation for both the people and the nation at large.

“This partnership is expected to help revive commercial activity along the rivers Niger and Benue axis, by producing specialised barges, best suited for our river transportation for bulk cargo, against the current trend, where all goods are conveyed majorly through our dilapidated roads and inadequate rail systems.

“It will also help put activity on the several moribund inland and dry ports located in the Northern and Eastern parts of the Country, thus increasing economic activities in these areas. The partnership will help boost commercial shipping activity of Burutu sea port and other Delta cluster ports.

“While the Navy will be having a 10 Hectares Naval Logistic base, donated by the host community, for their internal use, there will be additional 50 Hectares Commercial Logistic base to be jointly owned by this partnership which includes the host community, that will help boost commercial businesses and safety within this area of operation.

This icing of this relationship is that the Nigerian Navy is being transformed from not just a maritime security outfit, but to an economic enhancer that provide facilities that help boost commercial activities within their maritime operational zone.”

He commended the efforts of both the Nexim Bank and Sealink towards operationalisation of the relationship noting that, “The business advocacy of the Sealink Consortium generated the need for construction of specialised river crafts and barges that will convey hitherto locked bulk cargoes in the hinterland for export.

Also speaking at the signing ceremony, the Managing Director of NEXIM, Nigerian Export Import Bank, Alhajii Abba Bello disclosed that the bank got involved in maritime activities in a bid to expand the Maritime logistics infrastructure to drive trade and commerce hence its support for the surveying and charting of the nation’s rivers, as well as boost maritime security.

Reiterating that the project required huge capital investments to see its actualization, Alhaji Bello disclosed that NEXIM bank has signed an MoU with AFRI-EXIM bank for a $400million loan facility for the purpose of providing Port Infrastructural Development and other needed infrastucture for the waterways.

The Group Chief Executive of the Naval Holdings Limited, Rear Admiral Sirilander Lassa, signed the MoU on behalf Nigerian Navy while Chief Kenneth Donye signed on behalf of Akewa Global Services.

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