Covid-19: NIMASA, shippers’ council harp on collaboration
Body Urges Travel Ban Exemption For Seafarers
Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Dr. Bashir Jamoh, has stated that the guidelines for vessels calling at the Nigerian ports recently issued by the agency was to ensure shipping activities continue in a way that would not allow the spread of coronavirus in the country.
He made this known when the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Hassan Bello, led some stakeholders, including representatives of shipping companies to the NIMASA head office, in Lagos. The NIMASA DG said while the Federal Government is concerned about the lives of the citizens, the economy must be sustained, hence the need for collaboration with relevant agencies such as the NSC.
While also acknowledging that the pandemic has slowed down activities in the sector, he appealed for more understanding as the global economy is going through a trying time. He noted that the guidelines issued by the agency were based on consultations with the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and in line with best global practices.
Also speaking, Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) boss, Hassan Bello, said, “We must sustain our economy through shipping, though it is a delicate balance, considering the havoc the pandemic has caused the globe.
That is why we are working hand in hand to ensure ports activities continue, while not being detrimental to human lives.”
Earlier, representatives of some shipping companies, who attended the meeting appealed to NIMASA to consider voyages less than 14 days in the marine notice review in order to avoid undue delay and port congestion. They also commended the proactive efforts of the agency in issuing the notice.
In another development, IMO has echoed earlier calls by shipping industry bodies for governments to recognise seafarers and marine personnel as key workers providing essential services and therefore exempt from national travel or movement restrictions.
In a letter issued earlier in the week, the organization, specifically called on governments to permit professional seafarers and marine personnel to disembark ships in port and transit through their territory (i.e. to an airport) to allow crews to be changed and seafarers to be repatriated.
The letter reiterates earlier calls made by IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim, who said it was “crucially important that the flow of commerce by sea should not be unnecessarily disrupted, adding that seafarers were on the front line of this global calamity.
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