No fewer than 289 ships with propulsion and auxiliary machinery deficiencies called at the Nigerian ports in 2020. A report by the Abuja Memorandum of Understanding (Abuja MoU) on Port State Control (PSC) revealed that out of the 13,391 vessels, which sailed to the Nigerian ports, only 4.73 per cent or 634 vessels were inspected by the appropriate authorities. The organisation listed the categories of deficiencies to include certificates and documents, living and working conditions, propulsion and auxiliary machinery, safety of navigation, fire safety, structural conditions, lifesaving appliances and emergency systems.
It was learnt that the inspection was lower than the 821 inspections or 7.53per cent carried out from the 10,908 vessels in 2019. A total 52,182 vessels visited the Gulf of Guinea in the period, while 50,328 ferried cargoes to West African ports in 2019. However, the Abuja MoU report further explained that the increase in the number of vessels calling at the region did not directly translate to increase in the inspection rate due to the direct impact of COVID-19 on physical visitation as noted by all the regions and maritime nations. Despite the pandemic, the organisation noted that 14-member states under the Abuja MoU region submitted Port State Control (PSC) inspection reports with Nigeria leading with 634; Republic of Congo, 320; Gabon, 247; Senegal, 202; Benin, 191; Ghana, 156; South Africa, 154; Cote d’Ivoire, 166; Guinea, 107; Togo,81; Gambia, 39; Liberia, 21; Democratic Republic of Congo, 13 and Sierra Leone, six.
The report explained that a total of 2,337 inspections were carried out on 2,164 individual ships, noting that nine of the vessels were detained for deficiencies during the year, resulting in a 57 per cent decrease in the number of detentions below 2019 figures of 21 detentions. It explained: “The detention per centage per inspection of 0.39 per cent in 2020 gives a 50 per cent decrease below the 0.78per cent recorded in 2019.
The spread of one deficiency for every 3.8 inspections in 2019 decreased to 2.5 inspections per deficiency in 2020. The region recorded a 13.3per cent decrease in inspection from 2,695 in 2019. “The same number of administrations, which are 14, submitted inspection reports in the year under review as in 2019. The total ship calls to the 14 member states that carried out PSC inspections are 50,328 and 52,182 in 2019 and 2020 respectively. While the total inspections carried out by the14 member States are 2,695 and 2,337 in 2019 and 2020 respectively.
“Therefore, percentage inspections per ship calls in the region are 5.36 per cent and 4.15 per cent in 2019 and 2020 respectively.” The report stressed that a total of 937 deficiencies were recorded, which was higher than the 2019 figure of 719, adding that 252 inspectionswith- deficiencies was higher than the 222 figures of 2019. It further explained that the percentage inspectionswith- deficiencies of 10.8 in 2020 was 31.1per cent increased above the 2019 figures of 8.24per cent, stressing that only Gabon was able to achieve the 16 per cent target of inspection performance of ship calls in 2020. It said that 22 ship types were inspected in 2020, adding that bulk carriers was 925 or 39. 5 per cent; container ships 399 or 17.1 per cent; oil tankers, 278 or 11.9 per cent; general cargo/multipurpose vessels, 256 or 11.0 per cent; refrigerated cargo vessels, 140 or six per cent; combination carrier, 85 or 3.6 per cent and chemical tankers, 65 or 2.8 per cent.