The Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control for West and Central African Region (Abuja MoU) has lamented that shipping in the sub-region is at its worst conditions as a result of dirty fuels and substandard vessels.
Abuja MoU Secretary General, Capt. Sunday Umoren stated this yesterday, while speaking at the opening ceremony of a 2-week mentor-mentee training for Sierra Leone Maritime Administrators, in Lagos.
Umoren observed that the current state of shipping in the sub-region has a huge negative impact on the economies of member states, even as he stressed the need for harmonization of the Port State Control regime.
The mentor-mentee training which was organized by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), Abuja MoU, Nigerian Maritime and Safety Agency (NIMASA) started with an opening event at the NIMASA headquarters.
Speaking at the event, the Secretary General Abuja MoU, Captain Sunday Umoren appreciated the Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh OFR, for his willingness to allow other maritime administration stand on its shoulders to learn from and the Sierra Leonians willingness to build capacity and skills of its Port State Control Officers.
“The mentor-mentee program was created to provide technical support through on-the-job training and cross orientation of ideas for the raw improvement of Port State Control Institutions in the African Region towards knowing substandard ships, ensuring safety and employment of seafarers while protecting the marine environment and maritime assets,” he said.
He, however, asserted that an effective port state control regime results in saving of lives through emission and reduction of substandard ships including ship accidents, preservation of the marine environment and improving in the working conditions of seafarers.
Umoren posited that harmonization can be achieved through inductive capacity building and a need to work together which leads to inter-agency relationship and encouraged the mentees to take ownership and be empowered to be in a better control over their future developments.
On his part, the Director General of NIMASA, who was represented by the Executive Director, Maritime Labour and Cabotage Services, Engr. Victor Ochei advised the team to discuss measures to address emerging issues in the maritime industry such as clean fuel technology and elimination of substandard ships.
While appreciating Captain Umoren and the Abuja MoU Secretariat for their effort in coordinating and harmonizing regional PSC activities within the sub-region, he assured that the agency has made available the needed environment, boarding platforms and survey testing tools to be used for surveys and inspection.
Ochei lauded the mentor-mentee initiative and implored the PSC officials from Sierra Leone to show utmost professionalism and ensure that time set aside for the inspection of the different cargoes at Apapa and Tin Can Port is well utilized.
The NIMASA boss equally encouraged them to visit the NIMASA Command, Control Communications, Computer and Intelligence center (C4I), the Regional Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (RMRCC) and the NIMASA Library.
Also speaking, the Executive Director, Sierra Leone Maritime Administration, Paul Sobba Massaquoi said the mentor-mentee scheme of the Abuja MoU was designed for member states who have challenges in effectively conducting Port State Control Inspections and related activities.
Massaquoi opined that with the training, the Sierra Leone Maritime Administration will enhance their knowledge, skills, professional network, compliance with international standards, strengthening of Sierra Leone’s maritime safety and security, regional cooperation and collaboration and professional development and motivation.