The firms, Sedco Forex, Noble Drilling and Pacific International Drilling, sued the NPA at the Federal High Court, Lagos, challenging the charges.
They claimed that four oil firms – Shell, Mobil, Chevron and Total – engaged them to prospect for oil in the zone.
The plaintiffs argued that since the Minister of Transport did not declare the EEZ as a compulsory pilotage districts, they were not obliged to pay any dues.
However, NPA told the court that the plaintiffs took their rigs to the EEZ without permit.
It said such rigs are usually brought in from abroad, but before they are moved to the EEZ, the drilling firms ought to obtain temporary import permits to bring in the rigs as cargos.
– The Nation