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Pirate attack

FG rejects war-risk tag on Nigerian waters as shippers hike freight rate

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Anxiety has engulfed the planned development of Nigeria shipping industry following the recent international tag on Nigerian waters as war-risk by global shipping documentary group.
The tag is not unconnected with incessant pirate attacks on ships calling on Nigerian ports of Apapa, Tin-Can, Onne and Port Harcourt in the last few years and mainly last year when it reached an unprecedented peak of over 80 cases.
It was gathered that related pirate attacks and crew kidnappings on ships along Nigeria’s waters have forced two major shipping companies plying their trade in Nigeria including CMA-CGM and Hapag Lloyd to issue statements announcing the increment in their freight rate with the introduction of what they call Peak Season Surcharge (PSS) on all cargoes originating from anywhere in the world to Tin-Can, Apapa ports in Lagos and Onne port in Rivers State.
However, as part of drive to douse the fear, Executive Secretary and Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Mr. Hassan Bello, has rejected the war-risk tag on Nigerian port, insisting that the country’s territorial waters remain very safe after all.
While arguing that the few incidents of attacks recorded on Nigerian waters were not sufficient to warrant tagging Nigeria a war-risk nation, Business Hilights discovered that the labeling of war-risk nation has provided a pivot for a spike in insurance premiums slammed on vessels and cargoes destined for Nigeria by offshore insurers.
In an interview, Shippers’ Council boss averred that “We do not deserve the war-risk clause tagged on us. Our waters are safe. Again, this is where I have to commend Marine Police for greatly streamlining procedures for cargo clearance at the ports”.
“We’re also ensuring lesser vessel dwell time at ports. The responsiveness of the new IGP has been remarkable. So, it is the Navy, Police and NIMASA. We’re all working on a comprehensive policy framework to boost shipping in Nigeria so that the maritime industry can boost its contributions to the nation’s GDP,” Bello revealed.
It was not clear if the announced resumption of surveillance training and duties by the controversial Israeli security firm, HLSi Technologies in taking charge of volatile Nigerian waters have what it will take to secure the territorial waters and help exit Nigeria from the war-risk tag.

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