By DAPO OLAWUNI
Alhaji Aminu Umar, the Managing Director of Sea Transport Services Nigeria Limited, refined petroleum product vessel chartering and operations Company, has said that despite all the positive strides of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and the Nigerian Navy in reducing piracy and insecurity in the Gulf of Guinea, Nigerian shipowners were still paying high insurance premiums and war Risk surcharges.
According to NIMASA and Nigerian Navy records, Nigerian waterways has recorded zero pirate activities in the past eighteen months, a development which has caused Nigeria to be delisted from piracy prone countries by the
International Maritime Bureau (IMB).
The IMB in it’s latest report attributed the decline in Gulf of Guinea piracy to the increased presence of naval vessels and cooperation between coastal authorities that continues to positively impact the piratical activity reported in that region.
However while speaking recently at the commissioning of five patrol boats by NIMASA in Lagos, Alhaji Aminu Umar who is the President of Nigerian Chamber of Shipping indicated that these giant strides have not rubbed off positively on Nigerian shipowners and their business.
Speaking in a goodwill message, Aminu said “The issue of maritime security cannot be overemphasized in all discussions.
I was having a discussion yesterday with Lloyd’s of London, as you know, they are the underwriters for most of the marine assets.
“We had visitors from London and we were discussing about my company fleets.
In our fleet, we have some ships which are not Nigerian registered, the moment we mentioned that some of our assets are not Nigerian registered, they took interest in these ships and sought to have a better insurance package with them.
“They said that Nigeria has so much security problem and they don’t want Nigerian flagged vessels.
Apart from the war Risk charges, they also increase your premium as a Nigerian flagged vessel.
“The fact that we registered these vessels under the Liberian flag automatically gave these assets better premium, better discounts, and in addition to it, they are not trading within Nigerian waters, so they were ready to collect half of what they were collecting on Nigerian vessels from the Liberian flag” he said