Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Dr. Bashir Jamoh has stated that the guidelines for vessels calling at the Nigerian Ports recently issued by the Agency was to ensure shipping activities continue in a way that would not allow the spread of COVID-19.
Dr. Jamoh who stated this when the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council, Barrister Hassan Bello led some stakeholders, including shipping companies to the NIMASA head office, in Lagos, also said that while the Federal Government is concerned about the lives of the citizens in the country, the economy must be sustained, hence the need for collaboration with relevant Agencies, like the Shippers’ Council.
While also acknowledging the fact that the coronavirus pandemic has slowed down activities in the sector, he appealed for more understanding as the global economy is going through a trying time, of which Nigeria is not exempted.
“We are in trying times and all hands must be on deck to sustain the Nigerian economy. Let me assure all stakeholders and the shipping community that on our part as a regulatory Agency we will continue to embrace collaboration. This is a phase and it will soon be over, because today’s pains are necessary for tomorrow’s gains”, Jamoh said.
Speaking further on the guidelines, Dr. Jamoh noted that it was issued based on consultations with the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and in line with best global practices, adding that the guidelines are still open to review as time goes on, all in the best interest of everybody involved.
“The world was not prepared for the pandemic and that is why we are trying to ease the pressure on our industry, while taking necessary precautions to safeguard lives. We will continue to review these guidelines where necessary to ensure that shipping does not suffer, especially when it comes to movement of medical facilities through the sea”, the DG said.
In the same vein, the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council, Barrister Hassan Bello, corroborated the stance of the NIMASA DG and appealed for more cooperation and collaboration from the shipping companies and stakeholders in the sector. He gave the assurance that Federal Government Agencies in the sector will endeavor to work together and synergise to ensure ease of information sharing through a single data window, as it will help the sector to grow.
Accordingly, he stated that “at this period, we must sustain our economy through shipping, though it is a delicate balance, considering the havoc the pandemic has caused the globe that is why we are working hand in hand to ensure ports activities continue, while not being detrimental to human lives”.
Earlier, representatives of some shipping companies, who attended the meeting appealed to the Agency to consider voyages less than 14 days in the marine notice review in order to avoid undue delay and port congestion. They also commended the proactive efforts of the Agency in issuing the notice.
The Managing Director, PIL Shipping, Jack Langrishe, Managing Director, Ports & Terminal Multiservice Limited, Ascanio Russo, General Manager, ARKAS Line, Iain Lindsay, and the Executive Directors of NIMASA were also present at the meeting.