The Horse Mackerel Association of Namibia has applied for permission from the health ministry for a foreign crew change on freezer vessels amid Covid-19 travel restrictions.
In a confirmed letter issued on 16 June and seen by The Namibian, health minister Kalumbi Shangula approved the application on condition that the association's request to bring foreign crew members into Namibian be sought in writing.
However, this application by the horse mackerel association goes against rule 18 of a Memorandum of Understanding signed between trade unions and the industry in April, that said that there would be no foreign crew change.
A group of about 141 foreign seafarers is expected in the country in the coming days to exchange with a group of about 130 others to work on vessels owned or chartered by Cadilu Fishing, Erongo Marine Enterprises, Tunacor Fishing, Caveman Fishing.
Namibian Fishing Association chairman Matti Amukwa said he has no knowledge of this arrangement and said the industry has a meeting today to review the Memorandum of Understanding and ensure that everyone is on the same page.
"We need to have uniformity and consistency and not everyone is doing what they want to do. The left arm must know what the right arm is doing. Those are all the issues that we are going to addressed," said Amukwa
The fisheries observer agencies, which were omitted from the Memorandum of Understanding, are also expected to be part of the review meeting.