A maritime group, Nigerians Against Theft in the Maritime Sector (NATIMS), has called on the federal government to beam its searchlight on the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to ensure that its working is in line with the provisions of the Act establishing it.
NATIMS in a statement issued in Lagos alleged that the activities of the authority have caused revenue leakages in the maritime sector of the economy.
It said that the federal government’s intervention was being sought because of the authority’s alleged complicity in the illegal berthing and mid-stream discharge.
The statement signed by its Chairman, Dr. Jonahs Bankole, NATIMS stated that the intervention has become necessary because the government is losing so much revenue.
“Two recent incidents were two ships, Antigua and Berbuda-flagged MV Drago J with 470 twenty-foot equivalent of containers and MV Torco Clairvaux, respectively, sneaked into Nigerdock facility at Snake Island Integrated Free Zone, Apapa on January 19, 2016, and Ladol facility on December 16th, 2015, leave much to be desired.
“We in NATIMS know that, going by the rules, NPA provides pilotage for any ship/vessel that enters Nigeria’s territorial waters and we wonder how the two ocean-going vessels berthed illegally at Nigderdock and Ladol facilities without NPA noticing them.
“If NPA provided pilotage for the two ships, then something is wrong somewhere and that is why NATIMS is calling on the federal government to look into the activities of the NPA. We do not know how many ships had berthed illegally in the past and how much revenue government has lost.”
Bankole said that NATIMS proposes to “send a petition to relevant committees in the Senate and the House of Representatives, respectively, on how the activities of NPA have negatively impacted on the revenue base of the nation and how to reverse the situation,” he said.
He expressed hope that the Committees on Marine Transport of the lower and upper chambers of the National Assembly “will address the issue of illegal berthing of ships/vessels as well as the danger of having government agencies that are no longer alive to their responsibilities in terms of revenue generation.”
It commended Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) for “reading the riot act to its officers and men concerning illegal berthing of ships/vessels and mid-stream discharge of cargo as well as and the consequences of such actions.”