By Onome Amuge.
The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has expressed optimism that the country could get delisted from the War Risk Insurance (WRI) classification and see a drastic reduction in terms of the freight rates the country pays by the end of September 2023 following the successful fight against piracy on the country’s territorial waters.
The agency, which described war risk insurance as a punitive insurance measure covering damage due to acts of war, including invasion, insurrection, rebellion and hijacking, said the persisting war risk insurance on Nigerian-bound cargoes serves no effective purpose given the significant decline of piracy incidence in the Nigerian waters and the Gulf of Guinea since the agency deployed the Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure tagged “Deep Blue Project”.
Bashir Jamoh, director-general of NIMASA, who disclosed the move to declassify Nigeria, said that the agency has contacted the international insurance bodies over the continuous listing and collection of WRI from vessels calling at the Nigeria’s ports, despite the reduction in the level of piracy on the nation’s waters.
The director general also disclosed there has not been any pirate attack on any vessel on the Nigerian territorial waters in the first half of the year, a positive news for stakeholders and other players in the maritime industry.
“Last month after we were removed from the red list of piracy, we are no longer the most dangerous waters to trade on in the whole world as it used to be. If you recall last year during World Maritime day, that was the first time I started raising the alarm that there was a drastic reduction of piracy in Nigeria and we will not continue to pay the World Risk Insurance fee,” he said.
Commenting on progress made so far in discussions with the insurance bodies, Jamoh said NIMASA was asked to present its short, medium, and long-term plans that will convince them of having permanent and sustainable reasons to maintain the yardstick of the drop in piracy so they can remove the world risk insurance.
“They claimed we have been on the list for more than 25 years and a short time cannot be a yardstick to remove the World Risk Insurance, adding that we shouldn’t bring a few examples,” Jamoh said.
“We compiled our report and they told us last month that they have concluded their executive council meeting for the second quarter and by the third quarter in September they are going to consider other countries including Nigeria,” he said.