Thursday, March 3, 2016

New Bunker Operation Set Up in Area Secure from Piracy to Serve Marine Freight Traffic

Waters Off Lagos Get a New Tenant
Shipping News Feature
NIGERIA – NETHERLANDS – Operations in the waters off the Nigerian coast and throughout the maze of waters which make up the 27,000 square miles of the Niger Delta have long been hazardous with claims of robbery and piracy. The resident Ogoni and Ijaw people who inhabit the region have grievances, many well justified, against the international oil companies which stretch back thirty or so years and attacks on all types of vessels, from bulk oil and freight vessels to container ships still occur frequently.

Until recently it was commonplace for attacks by groups such as the Niger Delta People's Volunteer Force (NDVPF) and the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) to be successful but, after some serious teething problems, security in the region is now somewhat improved with the apparent success of the Secure Anchorage Area (SAA), a collaboration between Ocean Marine Solutions (or Security) (OMS) and the Nigerian Navy. The Navy have collaborated for years with private security firms, with very mixed results, but the SAA of Lagos claims 100% success rate against attacks in what of course is a comparatively small area.

It is this safe zone which Rotterdam headquartered oil and commodities trader Vitol is dependent for its latest project, a new bunkering operation in conjunction with PPP Fluid Mechanics, a company which coincidentally has as its Vice Chairman John Olatunde Ayeni, who is also a founding partner and current vice chairman of OMS. PPPFM has entered into an agreement with Vitol to be able to guarantee clients bunker fuels in the West African region.

Somewhat ironically bunkering is also one of the operations by way of which many of the militant protest groups have funded their operations against the oil giants. By breaking into an oil supply pipeline waiting vessels have been loaded with the stolen oil which is then sold by the culprits to any passing vessel willing to purchase.

PPPFM’s bunkering vessels and barges are now operating within the SAA which Vitol says has provided maritime clients with 100% successful 24/7 security throughout West Africa since May 2013. Details of the new service can be seen here.