…As NPA suspends demurrage
…NCDC clarifies confirmed cases on vessels
In line with the mandate of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) on the vital need to maintain commerce by sea and protect seafarers’ welfare in the face of the coronavirus shut down, the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has assured all stakeholders that arrangements have been made for operations at the ports to continue without hindrance.
This is consequent to the directive of President Muhammadu Buhari that the Apapa and Tin can Island seaport in Lagos should remain open in the duration of the two-week lockdown of Lagos State.
According to a statement signed by Jatto Adams, General Manager, Corporate and Strategic Communications and published on the NPA’s verified twitter account on Tuesday, “Safety procedures, which will guarantee the wellbeing and security of stakeholders and staff have been put in place and all are advised to kindly comply with directives of port officials.”
It stated further that all other government agencies responsible for smooth operations in the ports were obligated to be at their respective duty posts to carry out their responsibilities in line with the presidential directive of maintaining operational functions at Lagos ports.
The NPA had in a notice on March 23, directed all its non-essential Divisions/Departments to stay away from duty for fourteen days in a bid to curb the spread of the current coronavirus pandemic.
Recall, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) last Friday reported 12 new coronavirus cases in Lagos, six of which were detected on one vessel. The NCDC has now clarified that these cases were discovered on an Oil Rig, Siem Marlin on the High Sea, offshore Lagos and accessed by the Lagos State government and NCDC by helicopter.
Following this incident, NPA and Ports Health Services have set clear protocols on the identification of sick people on vessels and the management of suspected and confirmed cases in line with best practices set by the International Maritime Organisation.
In addition, the Authority has directed all Terminal operators to suspend all applicable terminal storage fees on consignments from an initial period of twenty-one days effective March 23, 2020.
“This gesture is in recognition of the pressure that the COVID-19 pandemic imposes on businesses, the responsibility imposed on the NPA to relieve its customers of this burden as well as attaining the objective of the Presidential Ease of Doing Business Policy at this trying period.”
“The Authority recognises the financial implications of these policies on the terminal operators and will consider a shift in our operational charges to ameliorate the situation of stakeholders,” the directive read.