As part of efforts to implement the Nigerian Port Process Manual (NPPM) through collaboration, Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) has advised Port Health Services (PHS) to conclude its inspections onboard vessels in 30-45 minutes.
The Executive Secretary of NSC, Mr. Hassan Bello emphasized this during a courtesy visit to the Port Health Services (PHS), in Abuja, recently, even as he stressed the need to clean up the ports by embracing orderliness, efficiency and zero corruption.
Bello described the NPPM as a useful and important manual that all relevant agencies in the port system should abide by.
The Shippers’ Council boss stated that since doing business at the ports is tied to time, there is a need for the Port Health Services, as the first agency to interact with vessels and crew, to reduce the time spent onboard, by performing their inspection speedily with a maximum of 3 officers.
Mr. Bello added that the turnaround time for ships can also be reduced through a pre-arrival communication between the vessels and the PHS, so that every activity performed on arrival of vessels on Nigeria’s shores would be for verification alone.
Meanwhile, the Executive Secretary noted that one area of concern that enables corrupt practices at the ports is vessel agents offering transportation to inspecting agencies, positing that such provision should be made by government or the PHS.
While encouraging the PHS to reach out to the NSC with any problematic issue, Mr. Bello suggested that the PHS also publish infractions committed by vessels calling at Nigerian ports.
Responding, the Director, Port Health Services, Dr. Geoffrey Okatubo, congratulated the NSC on its appointment by the Federal Government as the lead agency to coordinate and supervise the implementation of the NPPM.
Regarding the 30 – 45 minutes vessel inspection, he stated that as long as there is no issue with a ship, it is achievable. However, he explained that inspections can take longer than 45 minutes because of the peculiarities of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has given rise to more activities on board vessels.
He noted that these activities include checking the temperature and Polymerase Chain Reaction ( PCR) Covid-19 test of the entire crew, stating that due to the emergence of the new strain of the virus, special attention needs to be given to vessels arriving from Brazil, South Africa and India.
Okatubo, however, assured that the PHS is working towards publishing penalties for infractions and is also solidly behind the Shippers’ Council, in the performance of its roles and responsibilities.
This information was disseminated via a press release signed by NSC’s Head of Public Relations, Mrs. Rakiya Yagboyaju.