Shipping lines and RoRo port concessionaire, Ports & Terminal Multiservice Limited, Nigeria have appealed to the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to consider voyages less than 14 days quarantine to avoid undue delay and port congestion.
This is as Bashir Jamoh, director general of NIMASA, said the marine notice on COVID-19 was open for review.
NIMASA had taken some measures to control the pandemic and addressed to stakeholders in the shipping industry through a marine notice on COVID-19 dated March 20, 2020.
According to notice, only international marine vessels which had planned and informed of their call into a Nigerian port not later than February 1, 2020 may be allowed to call in such port, that any international marine vessel or any members of its crew and or passengers therein having a travel history of visiting any of the COVID-19 affected countries since February 1, 2020 shall not be permitted to enter any Nigerian port from March 31, 2020 to April 12, 2020, among other.
The appeal was made by Jack Langrishe, managing director, PIL Shipping, Jack Langrishe, Ascanio Russo, managing director, Ports & Terminal Multiservice Limited and Iain Lindsay, general manager, ARKAS Line, who accompanied Hassan Bello, executive secretary, Nigerian Shippers’ Council, on a visit to the NIMASA DG, in Lagos.
The shipping companies commended the proactive efforts of the NIMASA in issuing the notice.
Speaking earlier, Jamoh stated that the reason for the issuance of the notice for vessels calling at the Nigerian ports was to ensure shipping activities continue in a way that would not allow the spread of COVID-19 and noted that it was issued based on consultations with the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).
He noted that the guidelines were in the best interest of everybody involved and still open to review as time goes on.
The NIMASA boss who called for collaboration with relevant agencies noted the coronavirus pandemic has slowed down activities in the sector and 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.
“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.
While speaking in support of Jamoh, Bello, ES NSC, 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.
“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,” he said.