The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) said it would collaborate with the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) to sustain shipping and the economy.
This was contained in a statement issued in Lagos on Thursday by Mr Philip Kyanet, Head, Corporate Communications, NIMASA.
According to the statement, the agreement was reached when the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council, Mr Hassan Bello led some stakeholders, including heads of shipping companies to NIMASA’s head office in Lagos.
The Director-General of NIMASA, Dr Bashir Jamoh, while receiving the stakeholders said that the guidelines for vessels calling at the Nigerian ports recently issued by the agency was to ensure shipping activities continued in a way that would not allow the spread of COVID-19.
He said that while the Federal Government was concerned about the lives of the citizens in the country, the economy must be sustained, hence the need for collaboration with relevant agencies, like the Shippers’ Council.
While also acknowledging the fact that the coronavirus pandemic had slowed down activities in the sector, he appealed for more understanding as the global economy was going through a trying time, of which Nigeria was not exempted.
“We are in trying time 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 said.
The director-general, further speaking on the guidelines, said that it was issued based on consultations with the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and in line with best global practices.
He added that the guidelines were still open to review as time goes on, all in the best interest of everybody involved.
“The world is 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,” the director general said.
Also, Bello, corroborated the stance of the NIMASA director general and appealed for more cooperation and collaboration from the shipping companies and stakeholders in the sector.
He gave the assurance that Federal Government agencies in the sector would endeavour to work together and synergise to ensure ease of information sharing through a single data window, as it would help the sector to grow.
“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.
“This is why we are working hand in hand to ensure ports activities continue, while not being detrimental to human lives,” he said.
Representatives of some shipping companies, who attended the meeting appealed to the agency 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 Multiservices Ltd., Ascanio Russo; General Manager, ARKAS Line, Iain Lindsay; and the Executive Directors of NIMASA were also present at the meeting