56 vessels stuck on Lagos waters, waiting to berth
. 16 ships cancel voyage in two months.
Dockworkers, agents decry lack of protective equipment
About 56 vessels are currently waiting at the Lagos pilot anchorage in line with Federal Government’s order on COVID-19 prevention, while documentation process by the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), is also being perfected.
This comes, even as cargo congestion frustrates operations at the terminals, thereby forcing operators to seek urgent evacuation of abandoned consignments.
Also, about 16 ships, which had been scheduled voyage at Lagos ports, have cancelled their trips in the past two months, going by the latest Shipping Position released by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).
Seven of the trips involved the supply of petroleum products, while others are vehicles and other varieties. Of the 56 vessels waiting to berth, 30 ships are billed for TinCan Island Port, while 26 are going to Apapa Port.
Statistics from NPA, obtained by The Guardian, yesterday, showed that the vessels were tagged: CRNAPP, meaning, Customs Release Not Applicable (West Coast).
The vessels, mostly laden with containerised cargoes, also have used vehicles, wheat, Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), also known as petrol, base oil, and fish and a host of others, are currently awaiting approval to berth.
Similarly, some 36 more ships are expected at the Lagos Pilotage District, between now and May 30th, with 18 of them coming to Apapa Port, and 18 others are expected at TinCan Island Port.
The expected vessels are laden with petrol, used vehicles, wheat, fish, sugar, general cargo, base oil, and containerised cargoes and many more.Meanwhile, dockworkers and clearing agents have raised concerns over the lack of social distancing at the seaports, saying that their members are at risk of contracting the coronavirus.
The agents berated terminal operators and shipping companies for their failure to embrace automation and online platforms to attend to customers.
the President-General, Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN), Adewale Adeyanju, alleged that some terminal operators failed to provide hand gloves, nose masks and other working gears available to their dockworkers.
Adeyanju added that the union discovered a lot of anomalies when he embarked on a daily patrol of the terminals with his executives.“If the situation continues and the decease keeps spreading and affecting the workers, we would withdraw the workers from the port. Because we have told terminal operators to do the right thing by way of awareness to all our members” he warned.
President, National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA), Lucky Amiwero, said the agents are clearly at risk with the daily exposure in the continuation of the clearance of goods from the ports during this pandemic, without proper protection and care from various government agencies.
He stressed the need for proper coordination of activities for directing social distancing by all port workers, and the provision of water and hand sanitizers to protect the life of agents and other port users.
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