The Secretary-General of the Ports Management Association of West and Central Africa (PMAWCA), Jean Marie Koffi, said the COVID-19 has not disrupted maritime activities within the West African Sub-region so far since all goods are still being imported and exported in ports of member states.
“Activities at the port are proceeding normally because the maritime borders are not closed,” he said.
Speaking on Eye on Port’s live interactive programme via Skype from Abidjan, Jean Marie Koffi indicated that he does not foresee a point where ports would be closed stating that measures are already existent in ports to take care of crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Secretary-General of PMAWCA encouraged users of member ports to take advantage of the available digital platforms in operations during this COVID-19 period as well as urging port workers to ration staff as a way of adhering to social distancing protocols.
“I will urge the Ports to take advantage of technology and digitisation which save employees from physical interactions,” he noted.
Jean Marie-Koffi emphasised, that his outfit is continuing to engage Management of ports to raise awareness in good health and safety practices during this period.
Earlier in a communique to ports in West and Central Africa, the PMAWCA boss stated that port platforms cannot shut down in the wake of the coronavirus crisis because they are critical infrastructures and necessary for the survival of nations and vital to the population and economy.
The communique set out stringent health and safety measures to be implemented in all Western and Central Africa Ports in order to preserve workers’ health, limit the spread of the virus and avoid the prolongation of this public health crisis and its economic consequences.
Port Authorities are to ensure that the measures are effectively implemented within the stakeholders of the port community and provide all the necessary means to protect employees at the workplace.
Port Authorities are also to ensure Harbour Masters implement these new health, safety, and security measures iimmediately.
Crew/passengers on board arriving vessels that have called at ports in mainland China, France, Germany, Iran, Italy, Republic of Korea, and Spain within the last 14 days shall remain on board the vessels during the vessel’s stay in port.
Crew members arriving from countries other than mainland China, France, Germany, Iran, Italy, Republic of Korea, and Spain who wish to land ashore will be served with Stay Home Notice (SHN) and With effect from 31st March 2020, Port should cease calls from all cruise vessels.
For Shipping Community: New Compulsory Maritime Declaration of Health (attached is Singapore Maritime & Port Authority new declaration as of March 20th, 2020)
For ISPS Restricted Areas: Enforced social distancing for port workers; Observing other health precautions for all port workers; Enhanced access control with temperature taking checkpoints
For Port Community Stakeholders: All stakeholders should take precautionary measures for eligible staff to telecommute.