Nigerian Shippers’ Council has charged the Port Health Services to reduce the time spent onboard vessels by performing their inspection between 30 and 45 minutes, with a maximum of three officers.
The Executive Secretary of NCS, Hassan Bello, said this on Friday when PHS hosted the NSC in Abuja as part of efforts to implement the Nigerian Port Process Manual through collaboration, visited the PHS in Abuja.
Bello added that the turnaround time for ships could 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.
According to the ES, one area of concern that enables corrupt practices at the ports is vessel agents offering transportation to inspecting agencies.
Transport, he noted, should be provided by government or the PHS.
While encouraging the PHS to reach out to the NSC on any issue, the shippers council boss suggested that the PHS should publish infractions committed by vessels at Nigerian ports.
Bello emphasised 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 relevant agencies in the port system should abide by.
Responding, the Director, PHS, Dr Geoffrey Okatubo, congratulated the NSC on its appointment by the Federal Government as the agency to coordinate and supervise the implementation of NPPM.
Regarding the 30 to 45 minutes vessel inspection, he stated that as long as there was no issue with a ship, it was achievable.
However, he explained, inspections can take longer than 45 minutes because of the Coronavirus Disease crises, which gave rise to more activities onboard vessels. These include checking the temperature and Polymerase Chain Reaction COVID-19 test of the entire crew.
He further stated that due to the emergence of the new strain of the virus, special attention needed to be given to vessels arriving from Brazil, South Africa and India.
He added that the PHS was working towards publishing penalties for infractions and was solidly behind the Council, in the performance of its roles and responsibilities.
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