Home Maritime Deep Blue Project to Rewrite War Risk Insurance Narrative on Nigeria

Deep Blue Project to Rewrite War Risk Insurance Narrative on Nigeria

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… as NIMASA receives new COS
… to disburse CVFF soon

 

Efforts on the Deep Blue Project would soon begin to pay off on the war risk insurance surcharge on cargoes destined for the Gulf of Guinea.

 

The Director General, Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Bashir Jamoh, made this revelation on Friday, while highlighting the Agency’s achievements in the last one year under his management as the helmsman of the regulating body.

 

Coinciding with the 2021 Seafarers Day, Jamoh said the day was being celebrated because the narrative that Nigerian water was the worst in the world was changed, which would bring an overturn on the war risk insurance premium on Nigeria.

 

“Celebrated today by changing the narrative that Nigerian water is the worst in the world and this’ll help the international community stop the war risk insurance premium charged to Nigerian ship,” he said.

 

He noted that maritime security has improved in the Country, hence, the need for the international community to reexamine its imposition of war risk insurance premium on indigenous ships sequel to the high level of piracy on Nigeria territorial waters and Gulf of Guinea (GoG).

 

Jamoh further noted that the Nigerian government has shown commitment to addressing the insecurity on the Nation’s waters with the recent unveiling of the Deep Blue Project by President Muhammadu Buhari in Lagos.

 

With this, he said it will be a disservice to Nigeria and its investors to continue to suffer the imposition of the war risk surcharge by the international community.

 

However, the NIMASA Director General disclosed that the international community was pleased with the efforts by Nigeria on maritime security and would have actually reviewed the war risk insurance surcharge on Nigeria bound cargoes but for the issue of the Gulf of Guinea (GoG).

 

Adding that an official of the Lloyd’s List Intelligence was aware of the efforts by Nigeria on checking maritime security, he said the expectation was that the international shipping community should demonstration an appreciation of these efforts by at least reducing the war risk insurance surcharge.

 

He said: “It is significant that critical stakeholders in the world shipping community, like Lloyd’s List are recognising Nigeria’s efforts to make the Gulf of Guinea safe and secure for seafarers and ships. But it would be unfair for the world to sidestep such huge investment and commitment to maritime security and retain the high war risk insurance premium on ships bound for our waters.

 

“Since the world now acknowledges our commitment to maritime security and the recent improvements in security, it is only fair that relevant stakeholders should begin to rethink the charges that predated such efforts by Nigeria.

 

“The poor masses of this Country should not be made to pay for the actions of a few individuals bent on tarnishing Nigeria’s image.”

 

On the challenges confronting the Agency, Jamoh said: “One of the major challenges we’re facing is the disbursement of the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF).

 

“The second challenge is maritime insecurity; we want a situation we’ll record only one or no attack,” he said, also adding that “fleet expansion is giving us a lot of concern. You have ship you can’t repair it in Nigeria.” Hence, a third challenge.

 

However, he disclosed that NIMASA has gone a milestone by advertising the banks that have interest in disbursing the fund.

 

He disclosed that already 11 companies have been contracted and stakeholders being engaged on the type of vessel to procure.

 

Jamoh stressed that CVFF belongs to the federal government and not ship owners; explaining that cabotage funding is 2 per cent surcharge on shippers dedicated to financing coastal vessels.

 

On security, he however, said that NIMASA has been able to handle maritime security since the termination of private contract on Safe Anchorage Area (SAA) mainly for security of vessels on the Nation’s territorial waters.

 

The NIMASA helmsman stated that the termination of the SAA contract moved its available assets to provide security for vessels calling on the Nation’s waters as the Agency was capable of providing needed security for vessels bringing goods into the Country.

 

According to him the spate of incidents since he took over had reduced with the deployment of security assets.

 

His words: “We took charge of maritime security without any private security operator. Before deployment of security asset, we use to experience attacks almost on daily basis. But after the deployment in February, from December we recorded 10 attacks within the exclusive economic zone. In January, we started operating these items, we recorded one attack in February after the announcement we fully deployed, and we recorded zero attack, March one attack, April two, May one. We are yet to see any attack in this June.”

 

He said that NIMASA is looking at a situation attacks on the sea will stop because the boys (the criminals) will become employed.

 

Continuing, Jamoh said addressing insecurity on the sea was becoming increasingly difficult until the President in June 2019 approved the Act of the Suppression of Piracy and other Maritime Offences (SPOMO).

 

“Since then, we have convicted 10 criminals so reducing criminality on our territorial waters. Before now there was no specific law to address this issue so you release them and they come back to the same crime,” he explained.

 

He reiterated that the Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure, popularly called the Deep Blue Project is designed with three categories of platforms to tackle maritime security issues on land, sea, and air.

 

While the land assets comprise the Command, Control, Communication, Computer, and Intelligence Centre (C4i) for intelligence gathering and data collection, the 16 armoured vehicles are for coastal patrol; and about 600 specially trained troops for interdiction, known as Maritime Security Unit.

 

On air, Jamoh explained that there are two Special Mission Aircraft for surveillance of the EEZ, one of which has been received with the second expected to arrive later.

 

He also said that there three Special Mission Helicopters for search and rescue and four Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. The sea assets consist of two Special Mission Vessels and 17 Fast Interceptor Boats.

 

Jamoh also revealed that his Agency has received the approval of President Buhari to remove all wrecks and derelicts obstructing Nigeria’s territorial waters.

 

He said that with the approval, NIMASA would soon begin the exercise throughout the Country stating that the procurement process for the wreck removal has been completed as well as with the areas of the wrecks identified.

 

He also pointed out that three agencies of government, namely NIMASA, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), and the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) are all empowered by their different laws to remove wrecks.

 

The Director General however, disclosed that NIMASA has received the consent of these agencies to carry out the exercise.

 

The highlight of the occasion was his announcement of a brand new Condition of Service (COC) with good allowances for NIMASA approved by the Head of Service.

 

The Agency according to him now waits to seek approval from the Wages and Salaries Commission.

 

 

 

Photo caption:

From left: Head, Corporate Communications, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Philip Kyanet, Executive Director, Maritime Labour and Cabotage Services, Engr. Victor Ochei, Director General of the Agency, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, and Special Assistant to the DG on Communications and Strategy, Ubong Essien, at a Media Conference in Lagos, Friday.

 

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