Disputes over the SAA have been reported in the Press, an article about the SAA being closed have been countered by the operating company who say they work with the Navy and nothing has changed, ASKET have approached OMS/ SAA and been assured everything is operating as normal.
NPA Statement in press:
"Please note the changes to administration of the SAA within Lagos. Henceforth security will be under the provision of NIMASA working together with the Nigerian Navy and Maritime police. As such the privately owned and administrated SAA under OMLS Limited has been discontinued and no cost for vessel security should be borne by any company."
Concerned by threat to national security and the cost of doing business at the country’s seaport, the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has notified the Nigerian Navy of its decision to dismantle the Secure Anchorage Area (SAA), operated on behalf of the Navy by a private company, OMSL Limited. NPA insisted that the security of the country’s waterways was the statutory responsibility of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Marine Police, and Nigerian Navy, which must all ensure a safe and secure Nigeria territorial waters.
The move by NPA has been hailed by stakeholders in the maritime sector, who claimed the initiative was timely to stave off a financial burden that the consulting company had brought on them.
A Secure Anchorage Area is an area outside the Lagos port that the Nigerian Navy, with a private company, has defined as a secure place where vessels can anchor safely from the threat of pirate attack.
In the letter dated October 9, 2019, which was obtained by THISDAY, NPA stated, “Sequel to your letter ref: NHQ/CNS/015/54/00/Vol.X111/695 of January 2018 to the Honourable Minister of Transportation giving the background to your involvement with the creation and operation of the Secure Anchorage for vessels by OMSL, the Honourable Minister had directed that a letter be written to your service to request that you stop the operation of this facility for the following reasons listed below:
“One, by virtue of Port Act (1954), an Anchorage Area is an integral part of NPA statutory responsibility while NIMASA, Marine Police and Nigerian Navy ensure a safe and secure Nigeria territorial waters. Two, the Secure Anchorage Area (SAA) (Centre Point 06 17’30N/003 12’00E) established by OMSL is located within the port limit, which should be strictly under the management and control of the NPA.
“Three, it is established that vessels are directed and regulated to this facility by OMSL, who NPA does not have contractual agreement or other with. However, the Navy has a Memorandum of Understanding with OMSL and is providing security to the anchorage. Four, the continued operation of this facility by a private entity could pose security threat to the nation.”
NPA further stated that the operations of SAA added up to high cost for vessels coming to Nigeria through the charge of $1,500 per vessel per day.
It said in the letter to the Navy, “To this end, you are graciously requested to stop the operation of the SAA while a new framework – nearing conclusion – is being put in place to be managed by NPA in collaboration with your service and other government agencies that are critical to the operation of the anchorage.
“Please note that the authority will issue a notice to Mariners for the discontinuance of the SAA operation and a consequent amendment of the British Admiralty Chart-1381.”
When contacted for comments, Managing Director of NPA, Hadiza Bala Usman, confirmed the development.
Please note ASKET have not seen an official statement except via media outlets.