Abiola Seun |
The federal government has alleged that the Ocean Marine Solutions Limited (OMSL), the operator of Secure Anchorage Area (SAA) withheld revenue of the federal government for five years.
This was contained in a document in response to a petition presented before the National Assembly by a group named Association of Professionals for Safety in Shipping in Nigeria (APOSSIN) over NPA’s position on the SAA and a copy made available to newsmen
According to the response of the Nigerian Ports Authority to the National Assembly, they said apart from the SAA being within the Lagos Pilotage District of NPA, OMSL did not remit to the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) or the federal government the revenue generated from the operation of the Company from 2014 to date.
The reports reads, “It is pertinent to state that the revenue generated from the operation of the Company from 2014 to date has not been remitted to the Authority nor to the Federal Government.
Furthermore, the Authority submits that the charges at the SAA add up to NPA high port charges for vessels coming to Nigeria.
“SAA is within the Lagos Pilotage District of Nigerian Ports Authority as provided in the NPA Act. The Nigerian Navy provides security to OMSL at the anchorage. All revenue generated from the operation at the SAA are not remitted to the Authority nor the Federal Government.
It is pertinent to state that without prejudice to the powers of the Nigeria Navy, delineation of an anchorage area is the responsibility of the NPA. In addition, publication of Notices to Mariners on vessels calling at the Nigerian Ports as regard the port limits and approaches is the responsibility of NPA and not NIMASA.
“It is in the light of the above observations, coupled with high cost for vessels coming to Nigeria arising from the exorbitant charges being collected by the OMSL that the NPA vide its letters reference dated 24th October 2017 and 25th October 2016 respectively sought the intervention of the Honorable Minister of Transportation to dismantle the facility.”
Responding to issues raised by APOSSIN in its petition, the NPA in the document said it did not in any way interfere with the functions of the Nigerian Navy.
“The mandate of the Nigerian Navy according to law is to provide security in Nigeria’s Territorial Waters (including the Economic Exclusive Zone). The Authority submits that the Anchorage is an integral part of a seaport and that by virtue of its enabling law; the Nigerian Ports Authority Act, it is the responsibility of the Authority to chat, designate, own, operate and manage Ports Anchorage Areas except where such responsibility is entrusted to a third party in accordance with Section 9 of the Ports Act.
“It is pertinent to state that the Secure Anchorage Area lies within the Lagos Pilotage District of the NPA as entrenched in the Ports Act and as declared by the Honourable Minister of Transportation.
The authority did not transfer that responsibility to the Nigerian Navy nor to the Private Security Outfit concerned-OMSL, “it stated.
The document read in parts, “The authority reiterates that the Secured Anchorage Area falls within its Lagos Pilotage District. The authority submits further that even if the security of the nation’s maritime domain statutorily vested on the Nigerian Navy, which is denied, the activities being carried out by OMSL in collaboration with the Nigerian Navy, is port related and falls within the functions of the Authority.
“It is pertinent to state that by virtue of Section 7 (d) and (e) of the Nigerian Ports Authority Act, it is the responsibility of the Authority to: (d) “provide for the approaches to all ports and the territorial waters of Nigeria such pilotage services and lights, marks and other navigational services and aids, including cleaning, deepening and improving of all waterways” (e) “provide facilities for berthing, towing, mooring or dry-docking of ships in entering or leaving a port or its approaches”.
“The Authority submits that the Secured Anchorage Area is being operated by OMSL, a Private Sector Entity but with logistical support from the Nigerian Navy. The authority wishes to state that sometime in 2014, it procured and handed over to the Nigerian Navy three (3) state-of-the art brand new Patrol Boats for usage by the Nigerian Navy to safeguard the Lagos Anchorage and offshore waters within the Lagos Pilotage District.”
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