The Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control for West and Central African region (Abuja MoU) has kicked off its third Ministerial Conference in Accra, Ghana.
The Abuja MoU is one of the nine regional MoUs and national MoU established pursuant to the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Resolution A.682 (17) of 1991.
Established on October 22, 1999, the organization operates under a co-operative agreement with the IMO which has its headquarters in London, United Kingdom.
It has 17 member states in its fold. They are Angola, Benin, Cape Verde, Cote d’lvore, Congo, Gabon, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, and Sao Tome and Principe.
Others are Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, The Gambia, Togo, South Africa and Liberia.
The conference with the theme ”Tightening the Net: Regional Cooperation to Eliminate Sub Standard Shipping” is expected to attract participants and stakeholders in the maritime industry from member states in the West and Central African region.
The Abuja MoU mission is to develop what it called “a system of harmonized port state control inspection procedure” for the region aimed at the reduction and eventual elimination of substandard shipping.
It also targets the prevention of marine pollution and improvement of the living and working condition of seafarers aboard ships.
Ministers of member states are expected to review and assess the implementation level of actions identified at the second Ministerial Conference of 2010 and agree on further actions required to improve maritime safety and to help eliminate sub-standard ships.
They will also use the conference to identify common areas of concern and ways to strengthen regional cooperation, harmonization of port state practices and commitment to eliminating sub-standard ships in the states that constitutes the Abuja MoU.
The Secretary General of Abuja MoU, Mrs. Mfon Usoro in a statement issued in Lagos and obtained by Maritime Bits said the conference would be preceded by a one day 9th Port State Control Committee meeting by the Director Generals of maritime administrations.
“The conference will strengthen the capacity of member states and their maritime administrations to target sub-standard ships, achieve the desired regional harmonization and cooperation of port and flag state implementation processes for the elimination of sub-standard shipping, improving the living and working conditions of shipboard officers and crew and prevention of pollution in the region’s waters. During the conference, ministers will make presentations on actions taken by their maritime administrations in the excise of their port state obligations and recent developments on port state control procedures in the region.
“The Honourable Ministers will consider and approve recommendations/decisions of the Abuja MoU Port State Control Committee aimed at capacity building, information exchange, harmonisation and co-ordination of port state control practices and procedures”, the statement added.