Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) says it is banning international vessels without thermal screening facilities.
The Director General of NIMASA, Dr Bashir Jamoh, made this known in a statement on Sunday in Lagos.
Jimoh said that following the outbreak of COVID-19 and the need to mitigate the spread, especially through shipping activities, the agency has developed guidance to support all types of ships operating in the Nigerian maritime domain.
“The purpose is to help shipping companies and all maritime stakeholders to follow advice provided by United Nations agencies, including the World Health Organization (WHO).
“The International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the International Labour Organization (ILO), as well as the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
“The outbreak has necessitated stringent measures that can help curb the spread while not totally grounding the Nigerian economy.
“These are trying times and we must pull through together; that is why we have directed that all maritime stakeholders develop risk assessments and safety intervention guidelines for their personnel and operations,’’ he said.
Jimoh explained that the guidelines would be on the areas of vulnerabilities of their maritime operations that could be affected by the COVID -19 pandemic.
This, he said, would include, but not limited to, offshore operations such as crew/personnel changes, visits from onshore and other locations for provision of supplies, maintenance and repairs etc.
He pointed out that the agency would come up with the publication that would elaborate on guidance, including schedule for ongoing offshore operations requiring new crew or crew changes from affected countries.
According to him, this to ensure that pre-departure tests for COVID-19 are conducted on such persons.
He added that self-isolation procedures for the prescribed period would be instituted for such new crew/personnel before exposure to other personnel.
Jamoh said that only international marine vessel which had planned and informed of their call into a Nigerian Port not later than Feb. 1 may be allowed to call on such port.
He said that any international marine vessel or any member of its crew or passenger therein having a travel history of visiting any of the COVID-19 affected countries since Feb 1 should not be permitted to enter any Nigerian port from March 30 till April 12.
He added that only international marine vessel having thermal screening facilities for passenger and crew may be allowed on the ports.
“And that Shipping Agent/Master of Vessels must submit all documents related to crew and passengers regarding their travel to or from the COVID-19 affected countries.
“It is also important for all passengers and crew members to fill the Self Reporting Form as prescribed by Nigerian Port Health Authorities.
“Port Health Officers (PHO) shall carry out thermal screening of all the passengers and crew members on board ship.
“Until clearance is given by the PHO, no passengers and or crew members will be allowed ashore,” he said.
It would be recalled that in the fight against COVID-19, NIMASA recently donated 20 ventilators as well as six fast intervention vessels to facilitate transport logistics support in the maritime sector.
The agency also donated four fully equipped brand new Ambulances, four Hilux and four 36 sitter coaster buses to facilitate land based logistics in the Federal capital Territory, Lagos, Delta, Rivers Cross Rivers and Kaduna States along with cash donations to some of the states who have reported cases of the pandemic.