The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has voiced its determination to ensure the removal of the war risk insurance placed on goods being shipped into Nigeria, noting that it has thus far resulted in imposition of heavy cost on imported goods shipped into the country.
NIMASA, 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”.
Speaking on this premise at the agency’s zonal office in Port Harcourt, Rivers State,Ubong Essien, special assistant on communication and strategy to Bashir Jamoh, director general of NIMASA, noted that the recent wave of arrests and convictions of sea pirates, as well as massive investment in security assets, were attestments of the agency’s efforts to guarantee safety of ships on Nigerian waters. He added that the recent arrests and convictions of pirates is a development to the sector compared to former times when there was no strong legal ground to hold the criminals or pirates.
According to Essien, the success recorded by the agency is yet to actualise the removal of the war risk insurance imposed on Nigeria as vessels coming to the country are charged higher fees due to concerns over insecurity.
“It is also sad that this has persisted despite huge improvements in security in Nigeria’s waters. We are all paying the price for it. When goods enter the country, the higher cost in shipping and insurance will drive the cost up,” he said.
He further explained that Bashir Jamoh, NIMASA director general, has expressed his concern over the issue and has been on international campaigns for the removal of the war risk insurance placed on Nigerian goods.
“The DG has gone to three international meetings, where he has been making demands and appeals for the removal of war risk insurance on goods and ships coming to the Nigerian territorial waters,” he added.
Essien also informed that the Bashir Jamoh led agency was going to address the challenges facing the maritime domain from a three point agenda known as the ‘NIMASA Tripod’.
He highlighted the agenda to include ‘maritime security’, targeted at returning security to the waters and creating a safe coast area; ‘maritime safety’, with the objective of securing an enabling environment for shipping to take place in a safe and secure manner, and ‘shipping development,’ aimed at developing Nigeria’s shipping capacity.