Engineering Society advocates safety through quality shipping handling equipment

Engr. Kuzi Onyibe, Technical Adviser, Phoenix Register of Shipping

The Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) Apapa Branch,  in a public lecture titled ‘‘Maritime Equipment Handling: A Survey and Examination of Shipping Handling Equipment’ expressed its continued readiness to ensure safety through the use of proper and quality ‘shipping handling equipment’ in maritime operations. 
Delivering the paper at the Lagos Airport Hotel, Mr Kuzi Onyibe, the Technical Adviser, Phoenix Register of Shipping, maintained that ‘cargo lifting gears’ used in shipping operations must be of the standard quality (strength) as specified, to avoid failures that could lead to loss of lives and damage to property.

 He said maintenance of safety standards in maritime operations must begin with the quality of equipment to avoid the experience of spending so much money on insurance claims due to failure of the machines; causing injuries to personnel and damage to ship, ship hull and cargo itself.

Speaking on the role of the ship inspector, Onyibe said “As inspectors, our duty is to make sure that the equipment is in the best state or condition for the work until the next inspection.

“This is to make sure there will be reduced rate of accidents or loss of lives, or loss of labour, manpower or loss of other things that come your way.

“After every inspection, it is the responsibility of the users to keep these machineries in that condition until the next inspection or make it better.

“Those on the ship are competent enough to do the job; we are only coming to ensure that the competency continues. If the competency is maintained at that high level, then there will not be accidents on the ships.”

He said the importance of the responsibility of a ship inspector; both for flag and class, to maintaining safety makes it pertinent for them to enforce stoppage of an operation until the standard equipment are deployed for a job.

He said that much as the yearly inspection of equipment took place, the role of the Standards Organisation of Nigeria(SON) in ensuring that only standard equipment found their way into the country remained vital.

“Before any equipment is brought, the Standard organisation of Nigeria (SON) should ensure the documentations are correct.

“Cargo lifting equipment are tested in the factory, and the production is supervised by classification societies or government authorities before they are brought on the ship, while on the ship they are also tested before they are issued certificates,” he said.

While the Flag State Inspector has the authority to stop an operation on a ship if the equipment fails approved standards, industry stakeholders hope that the same could apply to operations at the terminal.

In that regard, Onyibe said the Federal Ministry of Labour, which gives certification, should be able to authorise the engineers who inspect the equipment at the terminal, to stop operations where compliance with standard fails.