Mfon Usoro resigns as Abuja MoU Secretary-General

The Secretary-General, Abuja Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Port State Control for West and Central African region, Mrs. Mfon Usoro has resigned.

Usoro, a maritime lawyer and former President, Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA) Nigeria, resigned towards the end of her second and final two-year tenure.

The Abuja MoU is hosted, and largely funded by Nigeria with its secretariat in Lagos.

It is not clear why Usoro resigned, but she is expected to finally leave office in June.

She is said to have formally notified the Minister of Transport of Congo and Chairman of Abuja MoU, Rodolphe Adada and Nigeria’s Minister of Transport, Chibuike Amaechi, who is the Vice Chairman of the Abuja MoU of her intention to step down.

A competent source told SHIPS & PORTS DAILY that the Federal Ministry of Transport has started shopping for Usoro’s replacement.

“The Ministry is searching for a highly competent person, preferably a Master Mariner or a highly qualified Marine Engineer to head the MoU Secretariat because it is a highly technical job,” a former Abuja MoU staff, who did not want his name in print because he is not authorised to speak on the matter, told SHIPS & PORTS DAILY yesterday.

When contacted by SHIPS & PORTS DAILY correspondent by telephone yesterday, Usoro refused to confirm or deny her resignation.

“You are the second person calling me on this issue but I don’t think the issue of my resignation should be a news item,” she said.

Usoro, who served as pioneer Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) for nine months – August 2006 to May 2007 – succeeded Engr. Bryant Oluwole, who served as pioneer Secretary-General of the Abuja MoU from 1999 to 2010.

The Abuja MoU on Port State Control was signed at a Ministerial Conference held in Abuja, Nigeria by sixteen West and Central African States on 22nd of October 1999. The meeting was organised by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and hosted by Nigeria.

The MoU is the legal document under which countries of the region agreed to develop and implement a common mechanism for the respective port state control activities. Its main work is the harmonization of port state control procedures and practices of all the countries in the region aimed at eliminating the operation of substandard ships within the region thereby ensuring maritime safety, security, protection of the marine environment from pollution, improving the working and living conditions of ship crew, and to facilitate regional cooperation and exchange of information among member States.

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