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November 10, 2019

Seamen exempted from NOC to board foreign vessel


November 10, 2019

KARACHI: Seafarers are exempted from a condition of obtaining no-objection certificate from the government prior to join a foreign flag vessel, maritime minister said.

Minister of Maritime Affairs Ali Zaidi announced discontinuation of sign-off/sign-on requirement in order to facilitate seafarers and whereby a seafarer would not have to contact the shipping master for no-objection certificate and Pakistan articles of agreement to join a foreign flag vessel.

“We need to tap every source of foreign exchange and remittances from seafarers are one of them,” Zaidi said during a meeting with seafarers and registered manning agents in Karachi.

“Globally, it’s a huge market and the example of the Philippines having a major share in the pie regardless of a very small population compared to Pakistan is praiseworthy.”

The minister said the ministry of maritime affairs is actively pursuing the ok-to-board policy for seafarers and continuously in touch with the ministry of foreign affairs on this matter.

Moreover, seafarers aged above 60 years are now entitled to seamen service book with a validity of 10 years.

The provision of medical facility in cities other than Karachi for facilitation of the seafarers has also been allowed and the panel of doctors is being expanded.

Previously, only one doctor in Karachi was on the panel, which created difficulties for the seafarers.

Zaidi said another issue that was identified earlier this year was the discontinuation of the issuance of seafarers’ identity document cards, which was resolved immediately in

collaboration with National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) and Karachi Port Trust (KPT).

“Establishment of a permanent mechanism is underway and funds have been approved for the purpose,” he said.

“The machine readable seafarer identity cards will be issued by Nadra.”

Also, the upper limit in public dealing hours at the government shipping office has been increased from 01:00 PM to 03:00 PM for the facilitation of seafarers. A 24/7 facility is also available on a special request in case there is an emergency.

The minister said more than 40 cadets have been assisted to get enrolled in universities for higher education.

“Conversion of our human resource to human capital is only possible with diversification in their experience and specialisation in their education,” he said.

“Our team is diligently working on multiple options to help seafarers so that they can compete in the international market.”

Government is to provide 33 scholarships per year to the youth of all provinces for four years, with 11 scholarships each sponsored by Pakistan National Shipping Corporation, Port Qasim Authority and KPT.