NIMASA raises the alarm over ‘false’ pirates’ reports

Posted by: Oluwakemi Dauda

The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has raised the alarm over what it calls false international reports on pirates’activities on the nation’s territorial waters.

Based on the reports, vessels carrying the Nigerian flag, the agency said, were incurring “unnecessary” losses by paying money to foreign marine insurance companies.

NIMASA’s Director-General, Mr Patrick Akpobolokemi, told The Nation in Lagos that some foreign insurance firms otherwise known as Protection and Indemnity (P&I) clubs were sabotaging the economy and painting the country black because of the reports.

The reports, he said, were aimed at making Nigerians to pay more for imported goods.

The NIMASA boss said the P&I clubs had made money from the country and other African countries, urging more Nigerians to venture into marine insurance to create wealth and provide jobs for the youth.

He said: “Virtually all the major insurances in this sector are done outside the country and this is a huge capital flight. The country has a robust population and in  sub-Saharan Africa, almost 70 per cent of the cargo traffic is from Nigeria. So, we have marine insurance.  Why is our insurance companies not tapping into the lucrative business?

“Sometimes you hear of piracy attacks, but most reported cases of piracy are untrue. They raise the false alarm because the insurance companies intend  to make mone; and if they don’t raise the red flag, how will they make the money? So, that is why they paint our image as bad as possible to get those insurance money.”

Akpobolokemi said the motive  of those responsible for the false alarm was political and a form of economic sabotage, urging Nigerians to join hands against the alarmists.

“If we cannot do it alone, all sub-Saharan African countries should be able to come together to form a vibrant insurance company,” he insisted.

He said since the Nigerian National Shipping Line (NNSL) was liquidated many years ago, it had made Nigerian flagged ships attractive for business.

He pledged that the agency would resuscitate the  national carrier so that it would be involved in the transportation of the nation’s crude oil.

Akpobolokemi wondered why the country still carried its oil on  Freight on Board (FOB) policy which he said  is a major blow to the economy especially in the area of providing jobs for the youth.

Former director- general of the defunct Nigeria Maritime Authority (NMA), Mr Patrick Egesi, has urged NIMASA on the need to  seek input from experts before the  acquisition of new ships for the national carrier.

Egesi, who lauded President Goodluck Jonathan for reappointing  Akpobolokemi, said his reappointment  would give confidence to local and foreign operators.

He said: “In the process of revamping our shipping line, I foresee a situation whereby some Nigerians will want to float  briefcase shipping companies in order to benefit from the scheme, but I will advise the DG to be careful in that regard.

“In the line of revamping the national carrier, I will advice the DG of NIMASA to have an eye on what happened as regards to the defunct of NNSL.”


Original Article