Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Bashir Jamoh, has assured of policies to improve the quality of training and certification and remuneration for the country’s seafarers.
Jamoh stated this in Lagos during a webinar hosted by NIMASA to mark the Day of the Seafarer.
The Director-General stated, “Policies are in the pipeline to improve the quality of training and certificates we give to the seafarers. We are taking steps to standardise the curriculum of our training institutions in line with international standards.
“We are also working on increasing the remuneration of our seafarers. These policies would be announced as soon as we complete work on them.”
Jamoh said seafarers were among the most courageous people in the world, stressing that the theme for this year’s Day of the Seafarer, ‘Seafarers are Key Workers’, is a “testament to the fact that the world cannot do without seafarers. Seafarers hold the key to humanity’s survival on a day-to-day basis.
“They hold the key to our well-being in this time of COVID-19 period.”
He praised seafarers for sustaining the global supply chain, distributing urgently needed medical supplies with enormous risk to their lives and families.
“The seafarers are unsung heroes, they are also our invisible heroes. We see their handwork every day and everywhere in agricultural machinery, the food we eat, and the unbroken run of the manufacturing base, despite the global lockdown.”
The Director-General spoke on the challenges faced by seafarers amid the Coronavirus pandemic, including stringent work conditions in some countries, movement restrictions, lockdowns, crew change difficulties, fatigue and seasickness, and disruption of contracts.
But he said, “As a regular, we have taken steps to alleviate the suffering of the seafarers. NIMASA was among the first government agencies to declare seafarers as being on essential duty, and we published this in a marine notice. We also issued COVID-19 guidelines to incoming ships towards ensuring that there is no importation of the virus by sea.
“NIMASA was the first in West Africa to issue a COVID-19 marine notice.
“We challenged ship-owners and employers of seafarers to take necessary proactive measures to lessen the pains of seafarers.
“We also walked in lockstep with the IMO to tailor all our marine notices in the early period of COVID-19 towards supporting the extension of the validity of seafarers’ certificates, crew change, guidelines, procedure and their designation as essential workers.”
Jamoh added, “It is said that a good sailor weathers the storm he cannot avoid; COVID-19 was a storm Seafarers couldn’t avoid. As tried and tested seamen and women, our seafarers have continued to weather this storm for us.
We celebrate you today. Nigeria thank you, the world appreciates you, NIMASA as a regulator will never abandon you. We will support you all the way.”