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Amaechi calls for strict inspection of ships in West, Central African ports

Amaechi calls for strict inspection of ships in West, Central African ports

The minister of transportation, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi has called for the strengthening of Port State Control (PSC) within the West and Central Africa through regular training of PSC officers, information sharing as well as harmonisation of inspection procedures.

Amaechi, who doubles as the vice-chairman of Abuja MoU on Port State Control for the region, said this recently in Lagos while delivering a goodwill message at a 3-day workshop for Heads of Maritime Administrations organised by Abuja MoU in collaboration with the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).

According to him, there is a need for a high level of professionalism in the conduct of inspections on board ships calling at ports within the region, which can only be achieved through regular training and retraining of the officers.

Represented by Magdalene Ajani, he said, the Abuja MoU holds a pivotal place as the watchdog for the regional maritime industry that ensures that substandard vessels and malpractices are not the order of the day on waters in the region.

He said that while the importance of capacity-building programmes cannot be overemphasised, member-states should work together to strengthen cooperation as well as sharing of information with the ultimate aim of preventing the operation of substandard ships within the region.

The minister also commended the IMO for providing the technical expertise to member states in the area of quality vessel inspection in line with its technical cooperation initiative.

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“One of the yardsticks for measuring an effective MoU is its ability to ensure harmonised system of Port State Control, strengthen co-operation as well as an information exchange among members. The essence of Port State Control (PSC) is to verify the condition and equipment of ships, and ensure she is manned in compliance with the requirements of international conventions/regulations,” he said.

Amaechi further said that ensuring compliance leads to maritime safety and security and prevents marine environment pollution.

The Minister however urged member-states who have not ratified and domesticated relevant instruments of the Abuja MoU, which include conventions/codes of the IMO and International Labour Organisation (ILO) for PSC, to do so promptly.

The PSC memorandum took place on October 22, 1999, in Abuja and its member-states include Benin, Angola, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Democratic Republic of Congo, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Equatorial Guinea, Mauritania, Namibia, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sao Tome and Principe, The Gambia, Guinea Bissau, and Togo.