The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, said Port State Control Officers (PSCOs) must display high level of professionalism in carrying out their duties of inspecting foreign ships at national ports.

The minister, who stated this 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 requirements 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 standard 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.”

While speaking, Ghana’s Minister of Transportation and Chairman of the 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 appealed to Members States who have not domesticated major conventions of the Abuja MoU to do so, even as he urged women to build careers that would qualify them to become Port State Control Officers.

“I wish to humbly remind us all that some of our Member States are yet to accede to, ratify and domesticate some major conventions. Obviously, you cannot enforce conventions that you have not ratified and domesticated. This calls for our speedy action in respect of ratification of these conventions.

“It is also important that we move with the changing times and strive to become at par with our counterparts by continuous professional developments and timely adoption of relevant instruments.

“We must also encourage our women to explore careers in becoming Port State Control Officers and in related fields as women are great agents of change.

“I, therefore, wish to use this opportunity to encourage the Member States to create avenues for the participation of women as Port State Control Officers,” Asiamah said.

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