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Nigerian Waters now classified as ‘War Zone’ by insurance firms—Ship owners

In view of endless terror attacks by sea pirates, kidnapping and maritime criminalities on Nigeria’s territorial waters, international insurance companies providing covers for ships calling or leaving Nigerian ports now charge ‘War Zone insurance’.

This was the revelation of the First Vice President, Ship Owners Association of Nigeria (SOAN), Mr. Eno Williams ahead of his presentation at fast approaching Lagos International Shipping Expo (LISE) in November.

Explaining more in an interview, he argued that the battle must be collectively fought and won, because the nation and indigenous shippers’ cannot continue to bear the brunt of maritime insecurity on Nigerian waters.

He said many operators are beginning to close shops and sack workers due to rising bills including insurance fees.

Continuing, Williams averred that “It cannot be addressed by outsiders. It has to be addressed by us; we working with the government to address that”, Mr. Williams stated, stressing the unfairness of expecting a ship owner to acquire a vessel and also pay through the nose in the task of protecting it.

“If you deal in an environment where there is piracy or security incidences as it are in the Niger Delta, then it means, that increases your insurance cost. As a matter of fact, our Nigerian Waters are classed as ‘War Zone’ and then, in whatever you do; you have to pay ‘War Zone insurance’, for an outsider coming into Nigeria.

“It’s an aspect we want to fight, it shouldn’t be our responsibility, but as it were, for every one of us that owns a vessel, you do everything to protect your vessel from those attacks, but that shouldn’t be. Those are some of the issues we will discuss at the Conference. It shouldn’t be, I shouldn’t buy a vessel and be afraid that somebody is coming to attack the vessel or do whatever to it and so on.

SOAN Vice President further added that “It increases my insurance cost. If you bring in a vessel for whatever reason, whoever that you are getting that from; if it is on Bare boat Charter, it is even on higher rate, with very serious insurance cost, because that automatically means, that you are in a place where they are not sure of their assets to go back in one piece.

“So it is something as a country we need to fight collectively, because if you go to Angola, go to Gabon, go to some of these countries, even as far as Ghana it’s not as bad as this. So, it is true that yes, Nigeria has that issue and we need to address it. It cannot be addressed by outsiders but it has to be addressed by us; we are working with the government to address that!…”, the SOAN chieftain stated further.