IMO, Abuja MoU host workshop for Maritime Parastatals

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) in collaboration with an Intergovernmental agency; The Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control for the West and Central African Region (Abuja MoU) says it is set to hold a 3-days workshop for heads of maritime administration from 22 countries of the region who are members of the memorandum.

The Abuja MoU has 22 signatory countries whose secretariat is domiciled in Nigeria with primary function of helping flag states in the implementation of port state control and to make them aware of its technicality in order to build capacity for the maritime sector of the region.

Speaking at a press briefing in Lagos today, the Secretary General of the Abuja MoU, Nigeria’s’ frontline maritime lawyer, Mrs. Ufom Usoro said that the coming workshop is for heads of maritime administrations of all the 22 countries and the key officers in the administration that are in charge of port state control duties.

According to her, this sensitization program is a direct response to the fact that maritime administrations in the region have not yet identified the importance of port state control, partly due to the non-functional secretariat of the Abuja MoU.

She however said that the workshop which is billed to hold at the Le Meridian Ibom Hotel and Golf Resort in Akwa Ibom State from 18th to 20th of June 2012 is designed to enlighten the heads of maritime administration and to make their countries compliant in terms of port state control duties and flag state control duties.

Mrs. Usoro further explained that the workshop which is going to be conducted in English language and French, is for member states to identify the training opportunities that is available in the MOU and for each of them in the region to know each order on first name basis, as well as to create a sustainable relationship among them, “if a port state control officer inspects a ship one of the countries of the region and noticed any defects, he should be able to send the information or call his colleague in the next country, so that they will not delay the vessel unnecessarily again”

According to her, the Federal Ministry of Transport as part of plans for the workshop has already set up a planning committee with representation from agencies whose mandate is somehow connected to port state control in Nigeria, the committee has representations from the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and the Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC) shippers council.

“IMO is the main facilitator and they are organizing the workshop in conjunction with us the Abuja MOU, as it is the practice in international organization, this workshop was planned since last year and a lot of work has gone in since last year, IMO is very pleased indeed that Nigeria agreed to host this first workshop for heads of maritime administration, Everything is being done to welcome the world and to make sure that they have a peaceful deliberation”

“Port state control officers are the ones that go aboard vessels, we work at an intergovernmental level to coordinate and harmonize them, we work directly with IMO, any new convention of the IMO that concerns port state control, we take it from IMO, send it to member state and encourage them to implement it” Mrs Usoro stated.

Already, the Akwa Ibom State Government has expressed satisfaction and immense support for the program.

The Secretary General also commended the Federal Government for taking a huge chunk of responsibility of the Abuja MoU and ensuring that its secretariat functions. According to her, Federal Government has allocated a new place for the secretariat of the MoU in Lagos.  “Nigeria is living up to its promise to member states and the IMO will be happy to find out when they come” she said.

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