The Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Dr. Bashir Jamoh, has stated that the guidelines for vessels calling at the Nigerian ports recently issued by the agency was to ensure shipping activities continue in a way that would not allow the spread of the coronavirus disease (covid-19) in the country.
Jamoh stated this when the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Mr. Hassan Bello, led some stakeholders, including representatives of shipping companies to the NIMASA head office, in Lagos on Thursday.
The NIMASA DG said while the Federal Government is concerned about the lives of the citizens, the economy must be sustained, hence the need for collaboration with relevant agencies such as the NSC.
While also acknowledging that the covid-19 pandemic has slowed down activities in the sector, he appealed for more understanding as the global economy is going through a trying time.
“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”, Jamoh was quoted as saying in a statement signed by the agency’s Head of Corporate Communications, Philip Kyanet.
Jamoh noted that the guidelines issued by the agency was based on consultations with the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and in line with best global practices.
He said, “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,”
Also speaking the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) boss, Hassan Bello, said, “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.”
Earlier, representatives of some shipping companies, who attended the meeting appealed to the NIMASA to consider voyages less than 14 days in the marine notice review in order to avoid undue delay and port congestion. They also commended the proactive efforts of the agency in issuing the notice.
The Managing Director, PIL Shipping, Jack Langrishe, Managing Director, Ports & Terminal Multiservice Limited, Ascanio Russo, General Manager, Arkas Line, Iain Lindsay, and the Executive Directors of NIMASA were also present at the meeting.