The Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) has tasked Port Health Services (PHS) on the need to reduce the time spent onboard vessels by performing their inspection between 30 to 40 minutes with a maximum of three officers.
Executive Secretary of the NSC, Mr. Hassan Bello stated this during a courtesy visit to the agency in Abuja.
A statement issued on Friday by Head of Public Relations Unit of the NSC, Rakiya Yagboyaju, in Lagos on Friday said the visit by the Council was part of efforts to implement the Nigerian Port Process Manual (NPPM) through collaboration with other sister agencies.
Bello emphasized the need to clean up the ports by embracing orderliness, efficiency and zero corruption.
He described the NPPM as a useful and important manual that all relevant agencies in the port system should abide by.
He stated that since doing business at the ports is tied to time, 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.
The ES stated that one area of concern that enables corrupt practices at the ports is vessel agents offering transportation to inspecting agencies. This, he noted should be provided by government or the PHS.
While encouraging the PHS to reach out to the NSC with any issue, Mr. Bello suggested that the PHS 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.
He, however, 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. These include checking the temperature and Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) COVID-19 test of the entire crew.
He further stated 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.
He added that the PHS is working towards publishing penalties for infractions and is also solidly behind the Council in the performance of its roles and responsibilities.