Abuja MoU welcomes Republic of Equatorial Guinea as 20th full member
The Secretariat of the Abuja Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has officially welcomed the Republic of Equatorial Guinea as the 20th Full Member State of the Abuja MoU on Port State Control for the West and Central African Region (Abuja MoU).
Secretary -General of Abuja MoU, Captain Sunday Umoren, on Wednesday disclosed that the Republic of Equatorial Guinea deposited its Letter of Acceptance of the Memorandum to the Secretariat on the 23rd day of November 2023.
Umoren said that with the attainment of full membership, Equatorial Guinea has taken the first step towards ensuring that its waters are safe and secured.
He added that other advantages of signing into the MoU include: “Improved reputation in the comity of Maritime Nations. Being an active member of the MoU regime is synonymous with the declaration for the protection of the maritime environment; • Protection of the maritime clusters and diverse economic sectors of the Blue Economy; Protection of your import and export noting that only seaworthy vessels can visit your maritime domain. • Expanded access to accessible training at national and regional levels for your maritime experts. • Access to the Mentor/Mentee scheme which is facilitated by the Abuja MoU.”
The Abuja MoU Chief also assured the new full member of the Secretariat’s close work with the IMO to ensure it gets the needed support to catch-up with matters concerned with ship inspection. He also talked about plans for capacity-building activities in 2024.
“Finally, be rest assured that the Secretariat, working closely with the technical cooperation division of the IMO and other relevant organisations, is very much ready and available to provide all the necessary support required to bring Equatorial Guinea up to speed on Port State Control matters and related activities.
“This is a time for action and as IMO puts it, ‘No one will be left behind’. The Secretariat has lined up arrays of activities in 2024 aimed at building the capacity of Member States, from the training of PSCOs, to the workshop for Director Generals and Port Authority Officials; we therefore encourage Equatorial Guinea to plug in and actively participate,” Umoren said.
The Port State Control is the inspection carried out on visiting foreign ships to verify their compliance with international instruments on safety, pollution prevention and seafarers living and working conditions.
It is a means of enforcing compliance in cases where the owner and flag State have failed in their responsibilities to implement or ensure compliance. The port State can require deficiencies to be put right and detain the ship for this purpose if necessary. It is therefore also a Port State’s defence against visiting substandard shipping.
For the records, the Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control for West and Central African Region (Abuja MoU) was signed by 16 Countries represented by their Maritime Authorities on 22nd October 1999 in Abuja, Nigeria.
Today, the 20 full members of the Memorandum comprise of Angola, Benin, Cape Verde, Cameroon, Congo, Cote D’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Nigeria, Sao Tome & Principe, Republic of Equatorial Guinea, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, and Togo.