Insecurity on waterways frustrating barge operations, says MWUN
The President-General of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN), Adewale Adeyanju, has lamented the continuous insecurity on the nation’s waterways, which is hindering cargo movement.
Adeyanju, who interacted with journalists, lamented that when conveying containers at night, the barges are attacked by sea robbers, thereby frustrating operations of cargo movement as well as discouraging investors to patronise waterways transportation due to lack of safety of their goods.
“If you convey a container from Lekki to Kirikiri Lighter Terminal at night, for instance, they can be attacked and robbed and it is no longer the issue of piracy again but robbery at sea. The way barge operations are going, they are not safe too and how is the deep blue project going to work to support this gigantic project in the industry,” he said.
The President General also faulted the deep blue project without the inputs of marine police for the protection of cargoes at sea.
He added that for barge operations to thrive in the country, the government and stakeholders should revive the marine police, empower and mobilise them to the sea. Adeyanju also called on security agencies on the waterways to up the ante for cargo protection at sea.
“If the government wants these barge operations to thrive and be efficient for stakeholders or investors’ patronage, then marine police needs to be revived. They are very key in barge operations. If the government can listen to our calls on this subject matter the better for investors and our economy. Otherwise, some investors will no longer patronise the business due to insecurity,” he said.
Speaking further, Adeyanju said MWUN was working closely with the Barge Operators Association of Nigeria (BOAN) to ensure insurance, workers’ welfare, security and a more aggressive revenue drive.
Adeyanju also advocated increased regulation of ports and jetties while calling for more presence of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) for effective policing against the influx of hard drugs into the country.
He said people are trying to use the nation’s ports as a hub for illicit drugs while calling on the government to restore Onboard Gangway Men, as they will be able to identify those coming in and what they have on board the vessels.