By Izuchukwu Ozoemena
The Concentrated Inspection Campaign (CIC) on Life Saving Appliances being prosecuted by the maritime authorities of the Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control for West and Central African region (Abuja MoU) is expected to end by November 2018, the headquarters of Abuja MoU in Lagos has said.
The aim of the CIC is to check compliance with the applicable requirements of the SOLAS Convention, Life Saving Appliances Code and ensure that the crews of vessels are familiar with relevant equipments and have received training in carrying out their duties.
The ability to survive at sea depends on knowing how to use safety and life-saving equipment, location of the equipment onboard, survival skills and ability to apply them in the event of an emergency and the sheer will to live. The regulations governing life-saving appliances are constantly amended to take advantage of advancement in technology and feedback from use onboard. Deficiencies relating to life-saving equipment constitute a major proportion of the total deficiencies over the last three years in this region.
Port Stae Control Officers (PSCOs) will use a list of 12 questions to determine whether life-saving equipments carried onboard comply with the relevant statutory certificates; whether master, officers and ratings are qualified and familiar with operation of the equipments, and whether the life-saving appliances are functional and properly maintained. If deficiencies are found, actions from the Port State may vary from recording a deficiency and instructing the master t o rectify it within a certain period of time to detaining the ship until the serious deficiencies have been rectified. In the case of detention, the data will be published in the non-performing ships sections of Abuja MoU website.
The result of the campaign will be analyzed and findings presented to the Abuja MoU Port State Control Committee for submission to the International Maritime Organization (IMO).
Port State Control is a check on visiting foreign ships to verify their compliance with international instruments on safety, pollution prevention and seafarers’ living and working conditions. It is a means of enforcing compliance in cases where the owner and flag state have failed in their responsibilities to implement or ensure compliance. The Port State can require defects to be put right and detain ships for this purpose if necessary. It is therefore also a Port State’s defence against visiting ships that are substandard.
The Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control for West and Central African region (Abuja MoU0 was signed by maritime authorities in the region on October 22, 1999. Currently, the Memorandum has 17 full members namely Angola, Benin, Cape Verde, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana and Guinea. Others are Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Nigeria, Sao Tome & Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa and Togo. The Secretariat of the MoU is provided by the Nigerian Ministry of Transportation and located in Lagos, Nigeria. The fully automated and comprehensive data base known as Abuja MoU Information System (AMIS) captures, stores and generates inspection data.