Operators in the eastern flanks of the nations waterways have urged the newly appointed Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr Bashir Jamoh to tackle headlong, the rising cost of armed guards which has pushed many operators out of business.
Speaking to Nigerian Tribune, a staff of Interserve Nigeria Limited, Mr Pius Amam stated that cost of armed guards which used to go for $50,000 now goes for almost a $100,000.
According to Amam, “Many operators have run out of business because we cannot pay such money. The eastern flanks of the nation waters are very volatile, thereby shooting up the cost of armed guards.
“Before now, we used to negotiate $30,000 to $50,000 on behalf of our clients that want their cargoes in Port Harcourt port, but now, if you are not willing to pay $100,000, then nobody is ready to talk to you about private security for vessels.
“This has shot up the cost of cargo clearance in Port Harcourt, forcing many cargo owners to choose the Lagos port as port of destination even when they reside in Port Harcourt.
“It is important that the newly appointed NIMASA DG focuses on maritime security if he hopes to stay long in office. I am sure his predecessor didn’t get a second term because the incessant attacks on vessels coming to Nigeria’s eastern ports were becoming unbearable for the Presidency, and that contributed partly to our loss of IMO Category C election.
“We need security on our waters. The pirates are having a field day. They attack when they choose to, and that is why vessels coming to Nigeria waters demand war risk premium.
“Why should a resident of Port Harcourt make the Lagos port is port of destination? The answer is simple: the channels leading to the Port Harcourt port are not safe. Bonny channel is worse. If you cannot pay at least, $80,000, no private security firm will be willing to discuss with you. It is that bad.”