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NIMASA, IMO seek recognition for seafarers in COVID-19 fight

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The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), in collaboration with the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), has called for the recognition of the contributions of seafarers during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The organistaions said that as the health workers were celebrated during the fight against Covid-19, seafarers should also be recognised as the majority of the drugs and food supplies would not even have reached nations across the globe without being shipped in large quantities to their destination.

NIMASA and IMO made the submissions yesterday as the world commemorated the 2020 Day of The Seafarer (DoTS), set aside by the IMO to recognise the invaluable contribution seafarers make to international trade and world economy, often at a great personal cost to themselves and their families.

This year’s celebration was themed: “Seafarers are Key Workers”.

According to the United Nations agency, seafarers are on the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic, playing an essential role in maintaining the flow of vital goods, such as food, medicines and medical supplies.

“The crisis has led to difficult working conditions for seafarers, including uncertainties and difficulties about port access, re-supply, crew changeovers and repatriation,” the Assistant Chief Public Relations Officer with NIMASA, Obiageli Chuma-Ugbo, stated.

She said it was important to note that majority of the economies would have been shut down but for shipping as the world did not prepare for the impact of the pandemic.

Chuma-Ugbo pointed out that seafarers sometimes lose their lives in a bid to make the world more enjoyable, especially when ensuring that ship sails through all the difficult weather.

“The most important thought that comes to mind when a keel for a ship is about to be laid is the crew that would man the ship. They are the ones who would ensure the ship sails through all the kinds of weather. In fact, they weather the storms together and it is through their expertise that the ship manoeuvres through everything it experiences. Sadly, these seafarers sometimes lose their lives in a bid to make the world more enjoyable.

“Though people in maritime know that the most important asset in shipping is the human element, the world has never felt how important these set of professionals are until the outbreak of COVID-19 across the globe.

“It should be noted that the world was not prepared for the outbreak of the pandemic so many countries decided to shut all businesses. Flights were grounded and a lot of industries were seen as not essential but the shipping chain remained, albeit with a lot of regulations to contribute its own quota to mitigate the spread of the pandemic,” she added.


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