A retired dockworker
of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Port Harcourt Port, Elder Silas Jonathan has solicited for better welfare and incentive for Nigerian Seafarers.
Jonathan, who bared his mind in a chat with The Tide in Port Harcourt said the call became necessary in order to conform with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) decent work agenda and the ratification of the Maritime Labour Congress (MLC) in 2006.
The senior citizen said the issue of seafarers, living and working conditions of the workers should be prioritised, knowing fully well the important roles seafarers played in the nation’s seaports.
“The welfare of seafarers is as important as the proper maintenance of ship equipment and it is an integral part of safe operations at the seaports in the country”, he opined.
According to him, it is disheartening to note that some seafarers work under unfavourable environment, thereby making their work unsafe and risky.
Jonathan hinted that apart from their welfare, some seafarers, after formal training, are jobless, stressing that it is not in the best interest of the country, as the knowledge acquired is wasted.
He called for a development plan to ensure that seafarers in the country could also compete favourably with their counterparts in other parts of the globe, pointing out that a situation where Nigerian Seafarers were denied basic incentives and necessary welfare package to do their duties perfectly had been a source of worry to the maritime industry in the country.
He however also called on the authorities to look in-ward and take proactive action in ensuring maximum welfare for the nation’s seafarers.