Status of armed guards and cover issues in Nigeria
In a statement by Captain Warredi Enisuoh, the Director, Shipping Development of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) the Nigerian Federal Government has made clear it will not hesitate to detain any ship entering the country's territorial and coastal waters with security escorts on board, whether armed or unarmed.
The Nigerian Tribune newspaper reported his speech quoting Captain Enisuoh as saying “whether caught armed or unarmed,” they would be detained and no cargo operation of any kind would be allowed.
“Ship operators, cargo owners and ship agents are hereby warned of the delays or possible forfeiture of their ships and cargo to the Federal Government, while those nationals will face the wrath of our laws”.
Although no formal published advisory is available, there have been detentions of three visiting ships, LILAC VICTORIA, UACC EAGLE and MORGANE, because they sailed into Nigeria with individuals linked to private security firms overseas offering training on the use of weapons.
As this executive power notified by NIMASA is not of itself a war risk Members should be aware that the detention of a ship by Nigerian authorities may be excluded from cover; for example by Rule 3.5: Exclusion of claims arising out of criminal and other proceedings.
The latest advice on security precautions in this region are published on the Club website. “Guidelines for Owners, Operators and Masters for Protection against Piracy in the Gulf of Guinea Region” is a companion advice to the BMP4 publication which gives broader advice on combating piracy.
Members are recommended to consult their P&I Club with regard to the cover fines and penalties it may provide.