The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) on Monday indicated a willingness to deploy its manpower towards total eradication of piracy in the first quarter of 2018.
The NPA Managing Director, Ms Hadiza Usman, indicated this at Onne, during the ‘Onne Ports Stakeholders’ meeting.
The NPA Boss who represented by Dr. Sokonte Davies, the Executive Director, Maritime Operations, assured that if the Authority joins in the fray, “the piracy challenges will be reduced if not eradicated by March 2018″.
Hadiza credited the relative calm on the waterways to the persevering security efforts of the Nigerian Navy, Police and Directorate of State Security Services (DSS), among others; and decried the abandonment of vessels on the sea, adding that the NPA would write their owners to remove such vessels.
She maintained that NPA would continue to focus on regulatory measures to enable it render effective services and generate more revenue, and urged Nigeria Maritime Agency for Security and Administration (NIMASA) to double its security efforts on the nation’s waterways to guarantee safety.
Meanwhile, the stakeholders have called attention to several of their major operational challenges, most of which they itemized as double taxation-berth rent by NPA and mooring charges by Terminal Operators; non-refund of payment for services between 2009 and March 14, 2014.
Mr Pius, a member of committee on “Challenges encountered by shipping companies/agents”, said the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Channel was blocking other ships’ movement whenever NLNG vessels were berthing or sailing.
Other challenges included piracy, hijacking of vessels and crew members on waterways.
The stakeholders also decried the lack of ambulance for emergency situation, among others.
Responding to issues raised by stakeholders, Usman said that the relationship between NPA and stakeholders had been cordial and assured that their challenges would be addressed.
In his contribution, Onne Port Manager, Mr Alhassan Abubakar, said the port had keyed into the reform policy.
According to him, the policy is paying off in the business environment, Abubakar stressed, adding that the port had high respect for the Executive Order on the “ease of doing business in Nigeria”