A NATIONAL committee of stakeholders within the maritime sector attended a workshop at Walvis Bay on Friday, aimed at upgrading its capacity to enhance port security and navigation at sea.
The European Union funded workshop was facilitated by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and included those who play a role in ensuring risks in the maritime sectors are identified and dealt with.
The Namibian delegation was headed by the deputy executive director of works and transport, Jonas Sheelongo, who said Namibia, along with nine other countries in the world, was fortunate to receive the support which boosted its security knowledge.
“This platform will assist the committee to coordinate and deliberate on issues including piracy, drug trafficking, illicit trade, safety of life and navigation. We are not the first country to go through this programme. The IMO facilitators came from different countries and brought us a wealth of experience. It is up to us to make sure that all the guidance that we have received is implemented and makes our country’s ports secure,” he said.
There have been crucial improvements in law enforcement since the implementation of a Container Control Programme (CCP) at the Walvis Bay seaport in 2018.
Namibian authorities have succeeded through mentoring, webinars and training on risk management, cargo inspection, and prevention of wildlife trafficking, and detecting counterfeit vaccines.
Sheelongo and some participants also visited the Port Control Unit launched in September at the Walvis Bay port, to be briefed on their operations, challenges and successes.
“I am highly impressed by the presentation. It shows us that there has really been coordination between the various agencies and stakeholders. I was happy to see that they are doing their part to see that illicit trade is also curbed,” said Sheelongo.
Although most of the world’s raw materials move through container trade, only 2% of containers worldwide are properly inspected.
This makes way for the illegal movement of supplies and illicit goods, particularly the smuggling of wildlife, timber trafficking, counterfeit medicines and Covid-19 vaccines in the case of Namibia.