NIMASA extends seafarers’ certificate validity over Covid-19 pandemic

  • An anchored vessel

The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has extended the validity of statutory and trading certificates, for all Nigerian registered vessels to ensure uninterrupted shipping for the movement of medicals and other essential needs across the globe.  

Disclosing this in Lagos, the NIMASA Director-General, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, listed the beneficiaries as Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW) certificates for seafarers issued by the agency, adding that the agency remained committed to its mandates, even during the present Covid-19 crisis.

“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 said.

He said the agency was aware of the difficulties that seafarers would be facing, and the need to keep them in job even beyond the pandemic, which necessitated the agency’s publication of a notice to extend their certificates and statutory others to ensure uninterrupted shipping.

“One of our major priorities is to keep our seafarers in job while not jeopardising their safety in terms of contracting the deadly virus,” a statement by the Head of Corporate Communications, Philip Kyanet, quoted him to say.

“We have, therefore, come up with a notice that would extend the validity of their certificates, for those of them that might expire soon. We have also issued guidelines that would regulate crew change during this pandemic.”

Meanwhile, Jamoh explained that following IMO’s recent guidelines on the certification of seafarers and fishing vessel personnel, NIMASA 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.

Accordingly, the extension will apply to all Nigeria-flagged vessels and seafarers sailing onboard Nigeria-flagged vessels, as well as seafarers with Nigerian Certificate of Competency sailing in foreign flagships.

Jamoh noted that the extensions would enable owners and masters of ships to permit personnel to continue with duties in view of the Covid-I9 pandemic and the nation-wide lockdown.

Therefore, he charged them 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.

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