Minister of transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has urged port state control officers (PSCOs) to display a high level of professionalism in carrying out their duties of inspecting foreign ships at national ports.
The minister, who gave the charge at the 11th Port State Control Committee (PSC) meeting of the Memorandum of Understanding on PSC for West and Central Africa region also known as Abuja MoU, said: “The inspection of ships to verify their condition, equipment, and whether the ship is manned and operated in compliance with the requirements of international conventions and regulations, must ensure maritime safety and security of lives, assets and to prevent pollution.”
The minister further called for continuous training as a requirement to maintain set standards at ports.
While calling on member states to work together in achieving set goals, Amaechi said: “Bearing in mind that port state control officers are ambassadors of the MoU, it is therefore important that they constantly undergo continuous trainings which would impact on their knowledge and skills as well as on their overall standards of inspections at the ports. However, this cannot be achieved without the commitment, financial and otherwise of every member state.
“We must all join forces and strive to ensure that we constantly uphold the ideals and objectives upon which the MoU was established. For this reason, I urge all member states to play their part in contributing towards the growth of the Abuja MoU, so that we can constantly meet with expectations and safeguard our marine domains.”
Ghana’s minister of transportation and chairman of Abuja MoU, Kwaku Ofori Asiamah, in his opening speech, said: “Port state control acts as an important safety-net to eliminate the operation of sub-standard ships to ensure the needed safety and it is therefore refreshing to note that notwithstanding the COVID-19 pandemic, our performance as flag states have been very encouraging.”
He called on member states to “prioritise the vaccination of seafarers, their off and on signings, especially in the repatriation process, and ensure strict adherence to COVID-19 protocols to protect PSCOs and crew of vessels visiting their ports.
The Ghanaian minister also called on women to explore careers in PSC and other related fields as according to him, “women are great agents of change.”
He tasked member states to create avenues for the participation of women as port state control officers.