Geographically and economically Nigeria dominates the Gulf of Guinea and has the single largest area of territorial waters and economic zone. Much of the maritime crime in the region, though not all, occurs in these waters or is committed by criminals from Nigeria.
Principally there are three different security options available and the benefits of each option vary depending on the cargo operations likely to be performed.
1. Charter an escort boat with an armed Nigerian Navy team embarked
A company can charter an escort boat to meet the vessel at a prescribed RV point at a certain distance from their destination in Nigeria, usually around 150nm. The escort boat then escorts the vessel to their destination, waits whilst cargo operations are completed and then escorts the vessel from destination back out to open ocean.
Typically this service is used for tankers loading at offshore terminals. Offshore terminals have their own security systems in place and other security measures, such as armed guards, are not allowed within the security zone hence an escort boat can wait outside the security zone whilst the vessel completes cargo operations and then continues to provide security until the vessel departs the area. It is perfectly possible to use this method for a ship visiting a port and the armed team can be embarked onto the vessel for her to go alongside.
2. Embarking a Nigerian Navy Armed Team
A ship can embark a local military armed team on board the vessel. Typically they would embark when the ship arrives in the anchorage to wait for a berth, remain on board during all cargo operations and disembark in the anchorage area as the ship departs.
This service would typically suit a ship arriving to load or discharge in a Nigerian port.
3. Secure Anchorage Area (SAA)
Please note this is not a service offered by MAST.
There are several secure anchorage areas off Nigeria. A vessel will pay to stay at anchor in a secure zone patrolled by the Nigerian Navy. It does not cover the vessel's security whilst she is inbound or outbound to the anchorage area.
The SAA tends to suit vessels arriving for STS operations.
MAST is able to support any Nigeria transit with an unarmed Nigerian advisor. They have security training, the correct paperwork to be on a ship and excellent language skills in both English and local dialects. As locals they understand the dynamics of the local security situation and culture that guides it. They can act embark on the vessel and act as the liaison between an escort boat/armed team and the local military.
To legally supply any type of armed security team in Nigeria a company MUST have an MOU with the Nigerian Navy. To get an MOU with the Nigerian Navy the company MUST be 100% owned by Nigerians. Therefore the security company making the arrangements for the service is Nigerian. These security services can be engaged by either a local agent or a foreign PMSC. The advantages of using a foreign PMSC is, hopefully, they have conducting some proper checks of the Nigerian sub-contractor and they will be fully insured. The advantages of using a local agent is they are local and are better aware of the domain in which they operate.