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SAA offers secure, legal anchorage against pirates in Nigerian waters

SAA offers secure, legal anchorage against pirates in Nigerian waters
A partnership project between the Nigerian Navy, Ocean Marine Security (OMS) and technical partner PGS Group is working to raise awareness on the availability of legalised security options for ships operating in Nigerian waters of West Africa.

The project saw the establishment in 2013 of the Secure Anchorage Area (SAA) off the coast of Lagos, Nigeria for vessels that require a dedicated and compliant maritime security solution.

As the name suggests, the SAA is a zone where vessels can anchor safely without fear of pirate attacks and so far the zone has recorded a 100% success rate since operations commenced. Protection can also be provided for vessels conducting Ship-To-Ship (STS) transfers in the adjacent STS zone designated by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).

Nick Dixon, managing director of SAA, pointed out that the SAA zone, which spans a diameter of five nautical miles just south of Lagos port, has a further diametrical two nautical miles of Maritime Exclusion Zone designed to deter potential seaborne threats and protected 24/7 by OMS supported Nigerian Navy patrol boats.

“The OMS supported patrol boats have been approved for use by the Nigerian Navy, given Navy call-signs and have mounted weapons onboard,” Dixon spoke at the residence of the British High Commissioner in Singapore on Tuesday.

“In the event of an attack, this would be considered an attack on the Nigerian Navy, hence all available Nigerian naval assets will be mobilised to assist,” he said, adding that SAA is also a solution recognised publicly by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and NPA.

Dixon’s presentation also sought to clarify information on the issue of hiring private armed guards in Nigeria. He pointed out that there is only one version of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that private maritime security companies should obtain if they wish to offer their services in Nigeria, and that all MoUs are signed by the Nigerian Navy’s Chief of Naval Staff.

Rates on engaging the services of SAA are $3,000 each for day one and day two followed by $1,500 from day three onwards. Additional escort services can see rates ranging from a low of $4,500 for basic services to a high of $64,000 for lengthier voyage services, inclusive of bunkers.