From Anthony Nwachukwu, Lagos
In view of the incessant attacks on the terminal by hoodlums, clearing agents at the Tin-Can Island Port complex (TCIP) in Lagos have accused Josepdam Port Services (JPS) of complicity by not adequately securing its anchorage.
The development, according to them, has led to a loss of confidence in the company, which operates berths 1 and 2 at TCIP, even as the other terminal operators have stepped up personal security for their quays against potential attacks on vessels at berth as the marine police fall short in their responsibility.
It will be recalled that on March 18, 2018, a group of about 20 sea robbers breached the terminal through the waterfront and headed to its fuel dump, where they beat up and tied the guards before connecting a hose from their standby boat and siphoned petroleum product from the fuel tank.
Said to have operated unchallenged for over an hour, the robbers, who carted away about eight drums of diesel from the terminals, returned four days later in an attacked on a ship, MV KIANA, which was discharging bulk sugar belonging to BUA Sugar Refinery.
Urging the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to sanction Josepdam over the development, a clearing agent, Ikechukwu Nwani, said the inadequate security at the terminal could affect other terminals and scupper the nation’s gains in implementing the International Ships and Ports Security (ISPS) Code so far.
According to him, “the incessant attacks and compromise by staff of Josepdam can affect the security of other terminals on the axis. It is better the government sanctions them to sit tight.
“If you visit their terminal, you will know it is the most porous and you imagine how they became compliant with the ISPS Code. Their berth is porous, that is why they recorded three consecutive attacks in one month.”
Similarly, the suspicion of insider collusion with the sea robbers remains strong, with the President-General of Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN), Comrade Adewale Adeyanju, alleging that the terminal’s members of staff were complicit in the successful attacks.
According to him, “some members of staff of Josepdam that were involved in this issue have been sacked. The boys came to me and I told them they were on their own and should face their music if involved. No union will encourage that type of thing.”