16 October 2013, Lagos – FOUR months after an ill-fated oil tanker; MT Vanin reportedly ran aground offshore the Lagos anchorage, another oil tanker, MT Victory 1 has run aground at the same anchorage following reports of a turbulent wind occasioned by recent rain fall in Lagos.
Downstream operators in the oil and gas sector have equally alleged that there has been an upsurge in attacks on oil vessels at the anchorage.
According to them, sea robbers board the vessels on assumption that there is product on board.
A source closed to the anchorage disclosed that the ill fated vessel, MT Victory 1 had been drifting for several hours during which it was sending Save-Our-Soul, SOS, messages to the relevant authorities, but it was unable to get help from any of them. Officers of the Nigerian Navy were also reported to have been contacted, but they allegedly could not do anything to save the vessel
The vessel was reported to have hit a rock around Lagos Bar Beach and had subsequently taken in water that eventually led to her being grounded. Two crew members were reported to have died in the accident.
According to the source who is a seafarer: “Two people died on the last vessel that sank, they called for help but nobody came, the navy came but they could not do anything, they could not rescue it because they do not have the equipment, they are supposed to be well equipped with boats to rescue people”.
He further alleged that security for vessels at the Lagos Anchorage is not watertight and that there is need to beef-up the presence of security agencies around the anchorage.
“The vessels are supposed to be there and the authorities are supposed to protect them, because they provide essential services to the nation, it is not only Nigerian vessels, including foreign vessels bringing goods into Nigeria, if you go there you will see them, container vessels, oil tankers, they are all there, some of them will wait until there is space at the jetty for them to discharge their content,” he explained.
“Government is supposed to provide security. In terms of security there is no security there, the ones we have are just inadequate, we have some of the navy and NIMASA patrolling the place, but they do not really come to your aid when the need arise,” he alleged.
Disagreeing however, President of the Nigerian Port Authority, NPA, Senior Staff Association of Corporation, Transport and Communication, SSACTAC, Comrade Jimoh Omeiza said that there is adequate security at the anchorage.
Comrade Omeiza said that the association has not got any complaints from its members who are working at the quay.
“There is a very good security at our harbours, we have the private security of the concessionaires parading day and night, the marine police are working, the Nigerian Navy is working 24 hours, NIMASA provides them speed boats, NPA provides them speed boats and they are working, except it is outside our waterways and not within the harbour, I have not heard that from our members at the quay,” he said.
Comrade Omeiza revealed that the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, had recently beefed up its security by employing 200 well-trained men, “so I don’t think there is any insecurity at the port”.
Speaking on the ill fated tanker, MT Victory, Comrade Omeiza explained that “If you bring in a vessel and it sank, it means that the vessel has been problematic before it got here, and maybe they did not get in touch with the right agency”.
*Godwin Oritse, Vanguard