Covid-19: NIMASA, NSC collaborate to sustain shipping

At safe distance – Managing Director, Ports & Terminal Multiservices Limited (PTML), Ascanio Russo (left), Director-General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Bashir Jamoh, and Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Hassan Bello, during a meeting with stakeholders and shipping companies in Lagos…Thursday

Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Bashir Jamoh, has stressed the need for collaboration among relevant maritime agencies and stakeholders to sustain shipping and the economy generally.

Jamoh, who received in Lagos the Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Hassan Bello, and stakeholders including those from shipping companies, explained that the agency’s recent guidelines to vessels calling at the Nigerian ports were to ensure continued shipping activities without spreading the Coronavirus (Covid-19).

Acknowledging that the pandemic has slowed down business activities in the sector, he appealed for more understanding as the global economy, including Nigeria’s, is going through a trying time.

“We are in trying times and all hands must be on deck to sustain the Nigerian economy,” a statement by the new Head of Corporate Communications, NIMASA, Philip Kyanet, cited Jamoh to say.

“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 explained that the agency’s recent guidelines to ships coming to the country were based on consultations with the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), and in line with global best practices.

He explained that they were still open to review, adding: “The world was 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.”

Similarly, Bello appealed for more cooperation and collaboration from the shipping companies and other stakeholders, while assuring that federal agencies in the sector would synergise to ensure information sharing through a single data window, to help grow the sector.

“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. That is why we are working hand in hand to ensure that port activities continue, while not being detrimental to human lives,” Bello said.

Earlier, the representatives of some shipping companies at the meeting had appealed to NIMASA to consider voyages less than 14 days in the marine notice review, in order to avoid undue delay and port congestion.Also at the meeting were the NIMASA executive directors, the Managing Director, PIL Shipping, Jack Langrishe, Managing Director, PTML, Ascanio Russo, General Manager, and ARKAS Line, Iain Lindsay.

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