NPPM: Shippers’ Council appeals to PHS for reduction in ship inspection time
...As PHS focuses more attention on vessels from Brazil, South Africa and India
The Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) has in effort to implementing the Nigerian Port Process Manual (NPPM) through collaboration, appealed that the Port Health Services (PHS) be conscious of the time it spends during inspection on board ships.
Executive Secretary/Chief Executive Office of the Council, Mr. Hassan Bello, made the appeal while he paid a courtesy visit to the Port Health Services (PHS), in Abuja.
Bello noted that “since doing business at the ports is tied to time, there is a need for the Port Health Services, as the first agency to interact with vessels and crew, to reduce the time spent onboard, by performing their inspection between 30 – 45 minutes with a maximum of three officers.”
He added that the turnaround time for ships can 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.
Describing the NPPM as a useful and important manual that all relevant agencies in the port system should abide by, the Shippers’ Council Boss said it was important to clean up the ports by embracing orderliness, efficiency and zero corruption.
According to Bello, corrupt practices are enabled at the ports when vessel agents offer transportation to inspecting agencies, service he said should be provided by government or the PHS.
While encouraging the PHS to reach out to the NSC with any issue, Mr. Bello suggested that the PHS publish infractions committed by vessels calling at Nigerian ports.
Responding, the Director, Port Health Services, Dr. Geoffrey Okatubo, congratulated the NSC on its appointment by the Federal Government as the lead agency to coordinate and supervise the implementation of the NPPM.
Regarding the 30 – 45 minutes vessel inspection, he stated that as long as there was no issue with a ship, it was achievable.
He, however, explained that inspections could take longer than 45 minutes because of the peculiarities of the Covid-19 pandemic, which had given rise to more activities on board vessels. These include checking the temperature and Polymerase Chain Reaction ( PCR) Covid-19 test of the entire crew.
He further stated that due to the emergence of the new strain of the virus, special attention needs to be given to vessels arriving from Brazil, South Africa and India.
He added that the PHS is working towards publishing penalties for infractions and is also solidly behind the Council, in the performance of its roles and responsibilities.