By Eromosele Abiodun
The Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN) has stated that all concessioned port terminals in the country are in full compliance with the provisions of the International Ships & Ports Facility Security Code (ISPS) Code.
The ISPS Code, which is being implemented under the auspices of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), is an amendment to the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Convention (1974/1988) on minimum security arrangements for ships, ports and government agencies.
The ISPS Code, which came into force in 2004, prescribes responsibilities to governments, shipping companies, shipboard personnel, and port/facility personnel to detect security threats and take preventative measures against security incidents affecting ships or port facilities used in international trade.
In a statement STOAN said private terminal operators under the auspices of the association have made significant investment in ensuring adequate security measures in their operational areas in full compliance with the ISPS Code.
“The ISPS Code is an essential maritime regulation for the safety and security of ships, ports, cargo and crew. For this reason, all private terminal operators at the six major port complexes across the country do not take the responsibilities of ensuring adequate compliance to the provisions of the Code lightly.
“We have made, and will continue to make, significant financial investments towards ensuring that every operational area assigned to us in the ports are well secured. Terminal operators have invested significantly in technology, patrol vehicles, perimeter fencing and adequate security personnel in ensuring that only authorized persons gain access to concessioned terminals,” the group said.
STOAN noted that all the concessioned port terminals across the country have adequate Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) coverage to monitor activities, even as they maintain strict access control to human and vehicular movements.
The STOAN commended the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), which is the Designated Authority (DA) for the implementation of the ISPS Code in Nigeria for working with the terminal operators in ensuring that Nigerian ports remain complaint to the international port security measures.
The association appealed to the federal government to strengthen the Marine Police to effectively patrol the port waterfronts to keep intruders at bay.
While commending NPA and the Nigerian Navy for working to ease the gridlock on the port access roads in Lagos, STOAN appealed to the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing to hasten repair works on the Apapa-Oshodi Expressway and the Ijora-Wharf Road to ease the pains of port workers, port users and truck drivers who daily ply the routes.
“The gridlock persists and there is need for a more drastic action on the part of the Federal Government to address the problem. We must reiterate the imperatives of good access roads, functional rail network and truck parks as necessary long term solutions to the present gridlock being experienced in and around the port area,” STOAN said.