Bello-Koko is surpassing the vision of port reform – Sarumi

…As NPA renovates seafarers' center in Lagos

Adebayo Sarumi, chairman of the Mission to Seafarers (MTS) Lagos, has commended the Mohammed Bello-Koko management of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) for delivering the vision of port reform that started in 2006.

Sarumi, who was the managing director of the NPA that spearheaded the Federal Government port reform in 2006, gave the commendation when the NPA MD led his management team on a tour of the abandoned MTS Lagos centre.

He said that judging by what his team had in mind 17 years ago; the present NPA management is getting it right and is interpreting the port reform for the future.

According to him, the Bello-Koko management is creating an enabling environment for international ships and people to do business in Nigerian ports.

Meanwhile, the NPA said it has concluded plans to renovate the Lagos centre of the Mission To Seafarers (MTS), abandoned for several years.

Speaking after taking a tour of the dilapidated facility, Bello-Koko, said the present state of the MTS Lagos is not befitting of Nigeria as a maritime nation.

He disclosed that his management had set up a team of engineers and architects to come up with plans that would enable the renovation of the center in at least three phases.

“The physical infrastructure is quite embarrassing because it’s dilapidated. We know the relevance of the mission. They are to take relevant actions concerning the welfare of the seafarers, and their mental health. They have been doing quite a good job, and we felt there is a need for the NPA to get involved in the renovation of this place,” he said.

Read also: NPA receives commendation for enhancing ease of doing business at ports

Bello-Koko said seafarers are an integral part of the cargo supply chain, which makes their welfare very important.

According to him, the NPA is constantly partnering with agencies including the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) on the general welfare of seafarers.

“NPA is coming onboard to ensure that this centre is renovated, we would give it a befitting look, the necessary ambiance, and a conducive environment for seafarers coming into Nigeria. They would get the same attention that they get in other parts of the world. It would help to increase the rating of our port. Seafarers should not come to Nigeria after 30 days in the vessel and still be forced to remain in the vessel for another four weeks,” he added.

Adebayo Sarumi, chairman of the MTS Lagos, said the mission is a global organisation with centres established all over the world adding that the center located in Nigeria is an eyesore.

“We appreciate the NPA for coming in to render support. Soon, this place would transform into one of the most welcoming arenas for visiting seafarers. They would have opportunities to get in touch with their families by the time we set up the communication gadgets that would allow them to speak directly to their families back at home.

“NPA is not their employer, but only giving them a feeling of being human. We have been seeking assistance for so long, but I have faith that it would come,” Sarumi said.

On the benefits of Nigeria having a befitting seafarers centre, he said, it would further lead to the removal of the War Risk Insurance Premiums usually placed on seafarers calling Nigerian ports.

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