… As Hassan Bello pursues functional implementation of NPPM with Port Health Services***
The Soul of the Nigerian Maritime Industry and Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC), Mr. Hassan Bello has observed, that ship’s turnaround time can be further reduced, through a pre-arrival communication, between the vessels and the Port Health Services (PHS).
Bello made the observation in Abuja, when he paid a courtesy visit to the Director of PHS, Dr. Geoffrey Okatubo in Abuja during the week, saying the visit was aimed at ensuring functional implementation of the Nigerian Port Process Manual (NPPM).
He specifically reasoned that if a thorough pre-arrival communication between the vessels and the Port Health Services can be established, it follows therefore, that every activity performed on arrival of vessels on Nigeria’s shores would be largely for verification alone.
He also identified one major area that fuels corrupt practices at the ports as concerning vessel agents offering transportation to inspecting agencies.
He consequently urged that either the Government or the PHS should fill the gap, by providing transportation; even as he emphasized the need to clean up the ports by embracing and entrenching orderliness, efficiency and zero corruption.
He described the Nigerian Ports Process Manual (NPPM) as a useful and important manual that all relevant agencies in the port system should abide by.
He also stated 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 3 officers.
While encouraging the PHS to reach out to the council 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, regarding the 30 – 45 minutes vessel inspection, stated that as long as there is no issue with a ship, it is achievable.
However, he explained, inspections can take longer than 45 minutes because of the peculiarities of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has given rise to more activities onboard 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.
The NSC under Bello’s has strenuously and meticulously remained focus at ensuring the nation’s ports render services at cost-effective rates, with zero tolerance for corruption.