Ships coming to Nigeria and other countries in West African ports have navigation and safety deficiencies.
In the last one year, a total of 585 deficiencies have been identified from the ships under the Port State Control (PSC) inspections.
Port State Control is a check on visiting foreign ships to verify their compliance with international instruments on safety, pollution prevention and seafarers’ living and working conditions.
Other deficiencies identified are living and working conditions, ship’s certificates and documents, propulsion and auxiliary machinery and crew certificates- International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW).
In 2017, 16 vessels have been detained for various deficiencies by Nigeria and 12 other countries under the Abuja Memorandum of Understanding (Abuja MoU) on Port State Control for West and Central African region.
The vessels were among the 2,074 ships inspected in 2017, giving a 33.33 per cent decrease in the number detention below the previous year figure of 24 detentions.
The Secretary General of the Abuja MoU, Mrs Mfon Usoro, however, explained that the region recorded a 7.91 increase in inspection efforts from 1,922ships in 2016 when 15 states submitted reports on 2,074 ships inspection in 2017.
Usoro noted that 21 different ships were inspected in 2017, with bulk carrier came top with 35.44per cent of ship types inspected.
She added that in 2017, 85 deficiencies were recorded on safety of navigation; 45 living and working conditions; 44 ship’s certificates and documents; 38 propulsion and auxiliary machinery; 30 crew certificates STCW.
Usoro said that safety and navigation deficiency constituted 14.5 per cent of all deficiencies recorded and remained the topmost defective item recorded under the Safety of Life At Sea (SOLAS) Convention.
She listed others as container ship, 15.04 per cent, general cargo/multipurpose, 13,69 per cent; oil tanker 13.07 per cent and refrigerated cargo with 130 inspection (6.27 per cent )
Meanwhile, the Abuja MoU has said that the Concentrated Inspection Campaign (CIC) on Life Saving Appliances being prosecuted by the maritime authorities would end by November, 2018.
The move was part of efforts to check compliance with the applicable requirements of the SOLAS Convention, Life Saving Appliances Code (LSAC) and ensure that the crews of vessels are familiar with relevant equipments and requisite training in discharging their duties.
The organisation explained that the ability to survive at sea depends on knowing how to use safety and life-saving equipment, location of the equipment onboard, survival skills and ability to apply them in the event of an emergency.
It added that deficiencies relating to life-saving equipment constitute a major proportion of the total deficiencies over the last three years in this region.
According to Abuja MoU, Port State Control Officers (PSCOs) will use a list of 12 questions to determine whether life-saving equipment carried onboard complies with the relevant statutory certificates.
It noted that if deficiencies were discovered, actions from the port state may vary from recording a deficiency and instructing the master to rectify it within a certain period of time to detaining the ship until the serious deficiencies had been rectified.
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