In an announcement to customers, the Port Authority of Kribi (PAK) says that the company has activated a Continuity Plan to ensure that commercial operations continue despite the major crisis. The document states that “the health and well-being of our employees is our priority. In this vein, we undertook measures to ensure that everybody is safe, and operations continue while restricting physical contact. We encourage you to do the same in order to keep our work environment safe and healthy”.
Hence, “for all applications pertaining to commercial operations and access to the Port, the email address email@example.com” is highly recommended. Furthermore, “as concerns formalities to invoice and pay goods fees, the E-Guce platform” is the appropriate tool in addition to usual phone contacts. In the same vein and in advance, the Operations Department has already developed a Contingency Plan. Thus, one needs to know that as global trade interfaces, all ports are subject to the provisions of appropriate international conventions which have already been ratified by Cameroon. Therefore, with the COVID-19 pandemic crisis, complying with International Health Regulations (IHR) provided by the World Health Organisation (WHO) is a must in PAK. Government measures to control the disease recently announced in Cameroon are even consistent with international provisions. From these, PAK draws scientific approval and usual recommendations for an efficient organization of the company’s activities in this period.
- The Specificities of IHR
An IMO-WHO joint declaration, permanently updated and drafted due to the COVID 19 pandemic, states that both international organizations and other partners are working hand in glove to help States ensure that health measures are applied in a way that will cause less disturbance in traffic and international trade. In this regard, the WHO and IMO call on States to comply with prescriptions pertaining to “free pratique” for vessels (Article 28 of IHR (2005)) and principles relating to appropriate healthcare and to avoid that vessels, crews and cargo undergo unnecessary delay, while acknowledging the need to prevent the apparition or propagation of the illness.
Article 28 clearly states that States Parties may subject the granting of free pratique to inspection and, if a source of infection or contamination is found on board, the carrying out of necessary disinfection, decontamination, disinfection or deratting, or other measures necessary to prevent the spread of the infection or contamination.