Sailing Opportunity

Sept 17, 2010 (LBO) – Sri Lankan seafarers will get an opportunity to serve on board Iranian vessels following an agreement signed between the two countries during the visit to the island of Iran’s trade minister, officials said. Iranian Trade Minister Mehedi Gassanfari was in Sri Lanka to attend the Joint Trade and Economic Cooperation Committee Meeting between the two countries. Shantha Weerakoon, director-general of merchant shipping, told LBO one of the agreements signed between the two countries was one on the recognition by Iran of certificate of competency issued by Sri Lanka’s Merchant Shipping Department to seafarers.

“This will help them find work on Iranian ships,” he said. “Iran has a big fleet crewed partly by foreign nationals.”

Weerakoon said Sri Lankan seafarers remit about 130 million dollars a year in earnings and the government is trying to encourage employment in the merchant navy.

The Memorandum of Understanding is required under international maritime law as ship owners cannot employ foreign certificate holders without an agreement with the issuing country.

The agreement, signed by Industry and Commerce Minister Rishad Bathiudeen and Iran’s Commerce Minister, Mehdi Ghazanfari, covers