NPA, NCDC, MWUN Clear The Air Over COVID-19 Scare At The Port

· We Did Not Contradict the NCDC ----NPA

 

·No Covid-19 Case In Nigerian Port---MWUN

 Finally, there is a confirmation that the six new cases of Coronavirus infections that were recorded in the Nigerian maritime space were not on any ship in any of the nation’s seaports.

While they were discovered within the nation’s maritime domain, the new cases which the National Centre for Disease Control. (NCDC) announced recently were actually on an Oil Rig, Siem Marlin on the high sea, offshore Lagos.

There has been apprehension as a result of the news that broke on Thursday that there were confirmed six new cases of COVID-19 on a vessel that called at Nigeria’s ports.

However, reacting to the tension created by the news, the NCDC has now clarified that the cases were discovered on an Oil Rig, Siem Marlin on the High Sea, offshore Lagos and accessed by the Lagos State Government and the NCDC by Helicopter, urging maritime stakeholders not to be apprehensive stating that the passengers were on rig off-Lagos.

In a press statement issued by the Nigerian Port Authority (NPA)  and signed by its spokesman, Adam Jatto,  he stated that the authority and Ports Health Services have set clear protocols on the identification of sick people on vessels and the management of suspected and confirmed cases in line with best practices set by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).

While stating that the authority did not contradict the information released to the public by the National Centre for Disease Control. (NCDC) following public reactions to the tweet, he said NPA needed the clarification to reassure its stakeholders who raised concern over the announcement that six cases were found on a vessel.

According to the statement “Following public reactions to attempts by the Nigerian Ports Authority to get full details of COVID-19 cases said to have been found on a vessel, the Authority wishes to make the following clarifications:

“The NPA, by its tweet on Thursday March 26, did not contradict the information released to the public by the National Centre for Disease Control. (NCDC). What the tweet sought (repeated below) to do was get full details of incident for purposes of record andbetter management in the future.

“Hello @NCDC. In respect to the 6 new cases that “were detected on a vessel” in Lagos, the Authority in collaboration with Port Health has not recorded any confirmed cases to date.

“To enable verification and proper record keeping, kindly avail us with specific details on the name of the Vessel the passengers were on board, and the Terminal or Jettywhere they berthed.”

“The NPA needed the clarification to reassure its stakeholders who raised concern over the announcement that six cases were found on a vessel when they as shipping companies, terminal operators, jetty operators did not witness any such passengers through their respective COVID-19 protocol.

“The NCDC has now clarified that these cases were discovered on an Oil Rig, Siem Marlin on the High Sea, offshore Lagos and accessed by the Lagos State Government and the NCDC by Helicopter.

Maritime stakeholders would not have been so apprehensive if it was clear that the passengers were on a rig.

“This clarification has renewed the confidence of stakeholders in the effectiveness of the processes put in place, which remains. The principal objective of the Authority”.

“Given the fact that the maritime industry is central to the management of the pandemic worldwide, the Nigerian Ports Authority is committed to working with all other agencies of government to ensure the safety of all Nigerians”.

Meanwhile, corroborating the stand of the NPA, n a statement signed by the President General of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) and obtained by our correspondent, the union stated that that no case of the COVID-19 has been diagnosed or confirmed in the Lagos ports till date.

 The union said according to the laboratory result by the Ministry of health, Federal Republic of Benin, on the only suspected sailor who came in onboard the vessel MSC SHAULLA tested negative for COVID -19 but positive for hemorrhagic fever which is basically malaria fever

 The union urged  port users to be vigilant and support efforts by the government and health agencies to curb  the continuous spread of the disease.

“The Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria wishes to announce and support the position of Nigerian Port Authority that no case of the Corona Virus has been diagnosed or confirmed in our Lagos ports till date.

“This is gleaned from the result of the laboratory test conducted by the Ministry of HEALTH, Federal Republic of Benin on the only suspected sailor who came in onbvoard the vessel MSC SHAULLA

“According to the Laboratory report, he tested negative for COVID -19  but positive for hemorrhagic fever which is basically malaria fever

While we appreciate the efficiency of our port health officials in monitoring and enforcing compliance to prevent health procedures in our ports we wish to urge them to continue to be vigilant and alert to forestall any form of smuggling the very infectious Covid -19 via our ports into Nigeria.

“As part of sensitizing our members to the menace of COVID-19, a high powered team of union officials led by the president General –Com Prince Adewale Adeyanju w recently toured all port formations in Lagos to create awareness in our members on the necessity to adopts preventive behaviours while on or off duty with the view to curtailing the spread of the disease in our ports.

“We urge port users to be vigilant and support efforts by the Government and Health agencies to curb to curb the continuous spread of the disease”, the union concluded in the statement.

 

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