CORONAVIRUS : Union gives Port Health Service ultimatum to quarantine crew of vessels

CORONAVIRUS : Union gives Port Health Service ultimatum to quarantine crew of vessels


Segun Oladipupo

The Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) has threatened to withdraw its service from any vessel in Nigeria that is not properly quarantined by the officials of the Port Health Service from Monday, 2nd March, 2020.

The union added that it would commence nationwide awareness exercise to make sure that all crew in vessels calling in the country are properly quarantined before its members have contact with them.

President General of MWUN, Comrade Adewale Adeyanju in a chat on Wednesday in Lagos, explained that the dreaded disease must be properly managed by health officials at the seaports adding that the Dockers must know the health status of the foreign crew on board vessels calling at the seaports as precautionary measures.

He noted that Nigeria and China have bilateral trade relationship and a large number of vessels calling at the seaports sail in from Asia.

According to Adeyanju, safety  of his members and other stakeholders is  paramount stressing the need for the health workers to show the level of commitment and efficiency to debar it from entering the country.

Comrade Adeyanju also called on the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA)  and the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and terminal operators to support the health workers in ensuring that dockers are properly kitted.

He added that the terminal operators have major roles to play to keep the country safe from the virus.

He said, “This is the time for Port Health officials to show efficiency in their job. Any vessel coming from any of the affected country needs to be quarantined here.

“Before the dockworkers will climb vessel as from next week, we must know the status of the crew on-board the vessel. That is, the captain of the vessel and the seafarers because we don’t know who the disease might have affected.

“The lives of our dockworkers and seafarers must be well protected by Port Health. So, they need to wake up and stop sitting in the office and be saying all is well.

“Port Health needs to work together with terminal operators to provide the nose cover, hand gloves, safety shoes, and other necessary protective gadgets.

“This is the time for Port Health to show its efficiency because it can spread fast if it is not well managed.

“So, terminal operators need to wake up, NIMASA too needs to come out because if they don’t supply the safety equipment as from next week, our members will not come out.

” I have told all the dock workers to be on standby, I am going to lead the crusade because the lives of stakeholders are not safe.

“This is a notice to all of them that by next week, all the dock workers must be protected and all crew on all incoming vessels should be inspected before our men go on-board.” he affirmed.

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