Port Health Services (PHS) has said that special attention is being given to vessels from Brazil, South Africa and India to the nation’s seaports because of the emergence of the new strain of the COVI-19 virus. Its Director, Dr Geoffrey Okatubo, disclosed this in Abuja when the Executive Secretary of Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC), Mr. Hassan Bello, paid a working visit to the agency.
The council’s Head of Public Relations, Mrs. Rakiya Zubairu, said in a statement that the visit was part of efforts to implement the Nigerian Port Process Manual (NPPM) through collaborations with other sister agencies. At the event, Bello emphasised the need to clean up the ports by embracing orderliness, efficiency and zero corruption. He explained that NPPM was a useful and important manual that all relevant agencies in the port system should embrace, saying that since doing business at the ports was tied to time, PHS was the first agency to interact with vessels and crew in order to reduce the time spent onboard, by performing their inspection between 30 and 45 minutes with a maximum of three officers.
Bello added that the turnaround time for ships could also be reduced through a prearrival communication between the vessels and PHS so that every activity performed on arrival of vessels would be limited to verification alone. He frowned at vessel agents offering transportation to inspecting agencies, saying it was the responsibility of government. The executive secretary advised PHS to reach out to NSC with any issue, urging it to publish infractions committed by vessels calling at Nigerian ports.