The Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA) Nigeria , has commended efforts by the government andseveral industry operators to keep the nation’s ports running as they provided personal protective equipment and ensured compliance with safety protocols according to health professionals.
President of WISTA Nigeria, Mrs Eunice Ezeoke, disclosed this in a statement on Monday when she appreciated the Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) MS. Hadiza Bala Usman for ensuring relief measures were in place for operators at the ports.
She said: “The Nigerian Ports Authority had directed all Terminal operators to extend the suspension of all applicable terminal storage fees on consignments (demurrage) for another fourteen days effective April 13, 2020.
“This gesture is in recognition of the pressure that the COVID-19 pandemic imposes on businesses, the responsibility imposed on the Authority to relief this burden on its customers as well as attaining the objective of the Federal Government’s Ease of Doing Business Policy at this trying period.”
She also appreciated the efforts of the Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Bashir Jamoh, for extending the validity of statutory and trading certificates for all Nigerian Registered vessels.
The extension, according to the WISTA Nigeria president, include Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW) certificates for seafarers issued by the Agency, while the agency stayed committed to implementing its mandate during the COVID-19 crisis.
That initiative is in cognizance of the challenges facing seafarers and the need for them to remain in job beyond the pandemic.
“The Agency determination is to ensure that shipping continues during this trying time, with a focus to keep the global shipping chain moving in line with the recommendations of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).
“The extension of the certificates will apply to all Nigerian flagged vessels and seafarers sailing on-board Nigerian flagged vessels, as well as seafarers with Nigerian Certificate of Competency who are sailing on foreign flagships,” she added.
WISTA Nigeria president also commended the Nigeria Customs Service for approving the distribution of items including 158 trucks of rice worth N3.251 billion to members of the public who are in need during this time.
She noted that from available information, the items distributed were seized from smugglers at various times and they include 30 trucks of vegetable oil; one truck of palm oil; 54 trucks of tomato paste; two trucks of spaghetti and noodles; one truck of Ankara wrappers and one truck of lace fabric.
Ezeoke also appreciated the Management of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council for deploying its officers to shipping companies and terminals as well as educating haulers to ensure adherence to health and safety regulations.
She recognised and commended the efforts by the Chairman, Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN) Mrs. Vickie Haastrup, who is also a WISTA Diamond, for supporting the Federal Government with huge donations in fighting against COVID-19.
All women associations in the maritime industry have done remarkably well in donations to the seafarers during the lockdown, Ezeoke said.
She urged members of the public to support government’s efforts by reporting any observations of acute respiratory infection such as coughing, sneezing, sore throat and difficulty in breathing among people close to them.
Regular hand washing and other necessary hygiene practices are important and necessary, the WISTA Nigeria president added.