COVID-19: NIMASA extends certificate validity for Seafarers

COVID-19: NIMASA extends certificate validity for Seafarers

The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) said it has extended the validity of Statutory and Trading certificates for all Nigerian Registered vessels.

According to a press release by the agency signed by the Head of its Corporate Communication, Philip Kyanet, the certificates include Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW) certificates for seafarers issued by the Agency.

The statement added that the Director-General of the apex maritime agency, Dr. Bashir Jamoh made the statement  at the Agency’s head office in Lagos.

He also said NIMASA remained committed to implementing its mandates during the COVID-19 crisis.

Jamoh said it was necessary to ensure uninterrupted shipping, despite the pandemic, stressing that shipping is one of the major ways of moving medical aid across the globe.

His words, “Our determination to ensure that shipping continues during this trying time remains unwavering and this is why we have continued to come up with measures to keep the global shipping chain moving in line with the recommendations of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO),” Jamoh stated.

The Director General added, that, the Agency was aware of the difficulties seafarers would be facing and the need to keep them in job even beyond the pandemic, saying this has necessitated the Agency’s publication of a notice to extend their certificates and other statutory certificates that would ensure uninterrupted shipping.

According to Jamoh, “One of our major priorities is to keep our seafarers in job while not jeopardising their safety in terms of contracting the deadly virus. We have, therefore, come up with a notice that would extend the validity of their certificates, for those of them that might be expiring soon. We have also issued guidelines that would regulate crew change during this pandemic.”

Expatiating on the notice issued by the Agency, Jamoh disclosed that following IMO’s recent guidelines on the certification of seafarers and fishing vessel personnel, the Agency had extended the validity of relevant certificates, including STCW, Mandatory and Safety certificates  and Certificates of medical fitness.

Others are the Statutory and Trading Certificates related to SOLAS ’74 as amended, MARPOL 73/78 as amended, Certificates of Ship Registry, National requirements for Power Driven Small Crafts (PDSC), and MLC, 2006, as amended.

He said the extension will apply to all Nigerian flagged vessels and seafarers sailing on-board Nigerian flagged vessels, as well as seafarers with Nigerian Certificate of Competency who are sailing on foreign flagships.

Jamoh said the extension would enable Owners and Masters of Ships to permit personnel to continue performing duties in the view of the COVID-I9 pandemic and the nation-wide lockdown in Nigeria.

The NIMASA DG charged Owners and Masters  to report any deficiency that may affect the approved capacity and performance standards of all Fire Fighting Appliances (FFA), Life Saving Appliances (LSA) on-board vessels.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, shipping has been the focus of attention in major maritime nations and NIMASA has continuously issued guidelines aimed at preventing adverse effects on the Nigerian shipping industry.

Editing by ‘Biodun Soyele

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