The National Seafarers Welfare Board is working with the Port Health and Nigerian Immigration Service to ensure safety of Seafarers while offshore.
The board Chairman, Mr Kunle Folarin, gave the assurance in an Instagram Live programme organised by Mrs Ezinne Azunnah of the Maritime TvNews.
The programme had the theme, ”COVID-19: Addressing the Challenges and Fears of Nigerian Seafarers”.
According to Folarin, the Port Health is the first point of contact for a seafarer as its workers are the first to board a ship on arrival at the port.
“Seafarers are fighting to ensure that the economy keeps booming; since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been on our toes to ensure their safety when they are at the ports.
“Any health concerns that has to do with a seafarer is tackled by the Port Health; it works in collaboration with the immigration service.
“Immigration has stopped giving shore pass to seafarers; this is in a bid to protect them.
“This will ensure that they do not have a situation whereby a seafarer is infected when not onboard a ship,” he said.
He added that a social worker and psychologist were on ground to ensure safety of seafarers.
Folarin said that the relevance of seafarers should not be under- emphasised, urging that they should be given the necessary support.
He said that seafarers were the engine that propelled the wheel of international trade.
He urged that there should not be any excuse why they should lack welfare, advising that ambulances should be positioned for them in the port in case of any need for evacuation.
He urged that all agencies working in the port should work harder to ensure prevention of COVID-19 spread.
He said that the board was doing its best to ensure that COVID-19-induced restrictions would not adversely affect seafarers and their operations
“Any disembarking seafarer or one intending to join vessels at a port, will find it very difficult, particularly when commercial airlines are not working and this is a very big concern for us right now.
“We are also working toward ensuring that a seafarer gets home since he needs to be repatriated to join another vessel or his home state and cannot go by land or air due to closure,” he said.