By DAPO OLAWUNI
Nigerian seafarers under the aegis of Maritime Professionals Forum (MARPRO) have called on the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) as well as maritime schools in Nigeria and abroad to give extensions on seafarers expiring documents in order to cushion the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Spokesman of the group, Capt Segun Akanbi in a chat with DAILY TREND NEWS noted that seafarers are sacrificing greatly to keep the economy of the world from crashing due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
He said that these seafarers, many of which are stuck onboard with fatigue, and without crew change, deserve a measure of palliative in form of tax exemptions and reductions.
He lamented that many seafarers documents are already getting expired but they could not renew it due to the lockdown that was put in place by the Federal government.
Captain Akanbi said that already, some foreign maritime schools have started granting six month extensions on seafarers documents.
He told our correspondent that “All the maritime schools are also expected to also give extensions on the seafarers expiring document for the period of this pandemic, because most documents are expiring and the people could not go for renewal due to this lockdown”
“Some foreign schools are already giving 6 month extension.
The Government could also give tax rebate to seafarers for this period to appreciate their sacrifice towards keeping the economy moving”
Also underscoring the need for the apex regulatory agency; Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to extend seafarers documents, a seafarer, Mr. Godwin Eyeta Eyeta lamented that documents and certificates are poorly and slowly processed in Nigeria.
He said “I have undergone medical test since April last year in one of the designated Clinic. Yet no medical certificate issued for a certificate that has two years validity”