The Federal Government in conjunction with the International Maritime Organization, IMO, has tasked member states of West and Central African Region, to ensure uniform compliance of Port State Control Procedures to promote maritime safety and security in the region.
The Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Transportation, Dr. Magdalene Ajani stated this in Lagos recently during the IMO/Abuja MoU workshop for Heads of Maritime Administration (MARADS) in West and Central Africa Region.
According to Ajani: “The essence of Port State Control is to inspect foreign ships in national ports, verify the condition of the ships and its equipment and ascertain that ships are manned and operated in compliance with the requirements of international conventions/regulations to ensure maritime safety and security and prevent pollution of the maritime environment”.
She, therefore enjoined stakeholders to identify ships which are not in substantial compliance with Internationally accepted standards.
Furthermore, Ajani observed that one of the yardsticks for measuring an effective MoU on Ports State Control is its ability to ensure an harmonized system of Port State Control, strengthen co-operation as well as information exchange amongst member states, with the ultimate aim of preventing the operation of sub-standard ships within the MoU region.
The Memorandum of Understanding on Ports State Control for the West and Central African Region generally referred to as Abuja MoU, the Permanent Secretary assured is striving to become the enviable MoU in terms of quality of service and performance amongst the 9 Regional MoUs.
While commending the organizers for the training which she described as very apt, she enjoined Heads of Maritime Administration to cascade the training to Port State Control Officers in their sectors to engender professionalism and skills in the conduct of inspection on board ships that call at their Ports.
Concluding, the Permanent Secretary, called on member states “who have not ratified and domesticated the Abuja MoU Relevant Instruments, which include the IMO and ILO conventions/codes for Port State Control to do so promptly, so that we can move with the tide of IMO”.
Earlier, the Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Bashir Jamoh, urged participants not to lose sight of the expectations of their various stakeholders.
He noted that they would continue to work with Abuja MoU, the Federal Ministry of Transportation and IMO to ensure that the “Port State Control regime achieves the set objectives of maritime safety and protection of the marineenvironment.
“The shipping industries in our respective countries need us to be fully and regularly on top of our game, especially as regulators who must always be a step ahead of the never ending challenges that beset the global seaborne trade, whether it is maritime security, the safety of shipping and capacity building”, he said.
Recall that the Abuja MoU is one of the 9 Regional MoUs and 1 national MoU established pursuant to IMO Resolution A.682(17) of 1991. The Organization operates under a Cooperative Agreement with the IMO and was established on 22nd October 1999 as an inter-governmental body comprising maritime administrations of countries connecting the Atlantic coast of Africa.
The event which was well attended had for Day one: the Head of Africa (Anglophone Section) Technical Cooperation Division of IMO, Williams Azuh, Representative of the Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, Mr. Shehu Ahmed, Secretary General, Abuja MoU, Capt. Sunday Umoren, Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority, Mohammed Bello-Koko among other top management officials from the Ministry, the agencies and the private sector.
Eric Ojiekwe D, Press & PR May 10, 2022