COVID-19: NIMASA extends certificate validity for seafarers

The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has extended the validity of statutory and trading certificates for all Nigerian registered vessels.

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The Director-General of NIMASA, Dr Bashir Jamoh, in a statement in Lagos on Thursday, said that these included Standards of Training Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW) certificates for seafarers, issued by the agency.
In the statement signed by Mr Philip Kyanet, Head, Corporate Communications, NIMASA, Jamoh said that the move was to reiterate NIMASA’s commitment to implementing its mandates during the COVID-19 crisis.
He said it was necessary to ensure uninterrupted shipping, despite the pandemic, stressing that shipping was one of the major ways of moving medical aids across the globe.
“Our determination to ensure that shipping continues during this trying time remains unwavering.
“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).
“The agency is aware of the difficulties seafarers will be facing and the need to keep them in the job, even beyond the pandemic.
“This has necessitated the agency’s publication of a notice to extend their certificates and other statutory certificates that will ensure uninterrupted shipping,” he said.
The NIMASA DG said that one of their major priorities was to keep the seafarers in the job, while not jeopardising their safety in terms of contracting the deadly virus, and also issued guidelines that would regulate crew change during the pandemic.
Jamoh also explained 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.
He also listed others to include 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.
The director-general pointed out that the extension would apply to all Nigerian flagged vessels and seafarers sailing on-board Nigerian flagged vessels as well as seafarers with Nigerian Certificate of Competency, sailing on foreign flagships.
He noted that the extensions 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.
Jamoh charged owners and masters to report any deficiency that might affect the approved capacity and performance standards of all Fire Fighting Appliances (FFA) and Life-Saving Appliances (LSA) on-board vessels.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that since the outbreak of COVID-19, shipping has been the main focus in major maritime nations, while NIMASA has continuously issued guidelines to prevent the adverse effects of the pandemic on the Nigerian shipping industry. (NAN)

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