The Secretary-General of the Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control for West and Central African Region, Sunday Umoren, has said that a total of 52, 000 vessels visited the West African region in 2021.

Speaking on Monday at the International Maritime Organisation /Abuja MoU designed for heads of maritime administrations in the west and central African region in Lagos, Umoren said that the secretariat had achieved appreciable success in the training of port control officers who were the first line of both offence and defence in the battle against sub-standard shipping in the region.

He said that despite the fact that the group put a minimum ship inspection at 15 per cent, some countries in the region still found it difficult to meet up.

“Last year, 2021, we had about 52,000 vessels visiting the West African region.”

The Abuja MoU scribe said that the essence of the Lagos meeting was to engage policymakers to come up with maritime-friendly policies.

“We are engaging the policymakers so that we will have knowledgeable policymakers and ensure we have maritime-friendly policies.

“Remember, our objective is to rid the area of substandard vessels. If a ship is leaving Nigeria and has issues along the line, the port control officer should naturally inform the next port of such vessel.”

Umoren also said that the body had now adopted a WhatsApp platform and body cameras to ensure proper security on the waters within the region.

Earlier, the Head, Africa Section, Subdivision for Maritime Development Technical Corporation Division, William Azuh, had said that 100 per cent of maritime administrations in the region had been audited.

He, however, lamented low performance in the area of Corrective Action Plan.

“I want to use this opportunity to draw attention to an important work of IMO, especially in this region, which is the International Maritime Organisation member state. Nearly 100 per cent of the maritime administrations in the region have been audited and that is a fantastic result. However, actions on the Corrective Action Plans have been dismal, to say the least,” he said.

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