Gambia’s Minister of Transport, Works and Infrastructure, Ebrima Sillah, assumed command Saturday as tlhe new Chairman of the Abuja Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control (PSC) for West and Central African regions.
“I have to say I am deeply humbled by this big sense of responsibility,” Sillah told delegates shortly after being chosen to lead an institution that aims to strengthen maritime security cooperation with a view to eliminating substandard shipping vessels in West and Central African waters.
Heads of Maritime Administration bodies, Transport Ministers from West and Central African region to take part in the 12th Port State Control Committee Meeting of the Abuja MoU and 4th Ministerial Conference. The much-awaited event was held from November 10 to 12 at the Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara Conference Center in Kololi.
Reiterating his commitment to steer the affairs of the MoU for the next two years to c, Sillah said he believes that, with guidance and support, he and his team will live up to the task.
“I solemnly declare before all of you that I will do my utmost best to ensure that the challenges we have, are tackled together in a manner that we can succeed,” he added.
The harmonization of system of Port State Control has been a major issue that member States were confronted with. To many observers, it is a sinequanon to eliminating substandard vessels across the West and Central African coastline.
Laying down one his major plans, the Minister of Transport, Works and Infrastructure, Ebrima Sillah, commended participants for taking part in a meeting that is place at a time when countries are faced with a mountain of challenges.
Ghana’s Minister of Transport, Kwaku Ofori Asiamah, who also doubles as the outgoing chairman of the MoU on PSC for West and Central region deplored the fact that the 2021 Annual Report highlighted that very few member States met the minimum recommended 15% inspection rate.
“It is critical that we scale up our inspections to ensure that safety of vessels and crew and more so to disabuse the ideology that Africa is a dumping ground for substandard vessels,” he voiced out.
The 2021 PSC Inspection Statistics Report seen by Jollofnews revealed that only 13 member States out of the 22 member States in Abuja MoU region were in line with compliance criteria, putting the submission of PSC inspection reports at the centre stage of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) directives.
The Member States of the Abuja MoU that are enjoying full membership are The Gambia, Senegal, Cameroon, Sierra Leone, Gabon, Sao Tome & Principe, Cape Verde, South Africa, Liberia, Benin, Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, Nigeria, Republic off Guinea, Togo, Angola and Guinea Bissau. However, Equatorial Guinea, Congo DRC, Mauritania and Namibia are yet to be granted full membership.