Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Bashir Jamoh, has disclosed that there are policies in the pipeline to improve the quality of training and certification, as well as remuneration for the country’s seafarers. Jamoh stated this on Thursday in Lagos during a webinar hosted by NIMASA to mark the Day of the Seafarer.
The session featured local and international participation, with the key speaker and consultant at Transbasin Limited, Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Karen Ogidigben Onimisi, and Nigerian Labour Attaché at the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in Switzerland, Essah Aniefiok Etim, calling for better welfare and support for seafarers.
The Director-General stated, “Policies are in the pipeline to improve the quality of training and certificates we give to the seafarers. We are taking steps to standardise the curriculum of our training institutions in line with international standards.
“We are also working on increasing the remuneration of our seafarers. These policies would be announced as soon as we complete work on them.”
He said seafarers were among the most courageous people in the world, stressing that the theme for this year’s Day of the Seafarer, “Seafarers are Key Workers,” is a “testament to the fact that the world cannot do without seafarers. Seafarers hold the key to humanity’s survival on a day-to-day basis.
“They hold the key to our wellbeing in this time of COVID-19 period.”
Jamoh praised seafarers for sustaining the global supply chain, distributing urgently needed medical supplies with enormous risk to their lives and families.
“The seafarers are unsung heroes, they are also our invisible heroes. We see their handwork everyday and everywhere in agricultural machinery, the food we eat, and the unbroken run of the manufacturing base, despite the global lockdown.”
The Director-General spoke on the challenges faced by seafarers amid the coronavirus pandemic, including stringent work conditions in some countries, movement restrictions, lockdowns, crew change difficulties, fatigue and seasickness, and disruption of contracts.
But he said, “As a regular, we have taken steps to alleviate the suffering of the seafarers. NIMASA was among the first government agencies to declare seafarers as being on essential duty, and we published this in a marine notice. We also issued COVID-19 guidelines to incoming ships towards ensuring that there is no importation of the virus by sea.
“NIMASA was the first in West Africa to issue a COVID-19 marine notice.
“We challenged ship-owners and employers of seafarers to take necessary proactive measures to lessen the pains of seafarers.
“We also walked in lockstep with the IMO to tailor all our marine notices in the early period of COVID-19 towards supporting the extension of the validity of seafarers’ certificates, crew change, guidelines, procedure and their designation as essential workers.”
Jamoh added, “It is said that a good sailor weathers the storm he cannot avoid; COVID-19 was a storm Seafarers couldn’t avoid. As tried and tested seamen and women, our seafarers have continued to weather this storm for us. We celebrate you today. Nigeria thanks you, the world appreciates you, NIMASA as a regulator will never abandon you. We will support you all the way.”
Karen, who is Director, Maritime Sector Consultant at Transbasin Limited, Dubai, United Arab Emirates, called on the international community to render necessary assistance to seafarers, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. She commended NIMASA for supporting seafarers during the pandemic and emphasised the need for Nigeria to develop post-pandemic measures to make the country’s seafarers internationally marketable and competitive.
Karen said, “Seafarers are part of the global supply chain and should have access to shore leave at ports in accordance with global regulations. There is also a need to look at improved ways to mitigate the challenges that COVID-19 has brought before us, commencing with digitalisation of our processes, including local training and licensing of Nigerian seafarers.”
Etim, who is ILO Nigerian Labour Attaché, Permanent Mission of Nigeria to the United Nations in Switzerland, sued for better working conditions for seafarers. He called for greater opportunities to make their voices heard, saying they should be encouraged through appropriate rewards and compensations.
As part of the activities marking the day, NIMASA donated to the seafarers items that included essential commodities, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), facemasks, and hand sanitisers.
The Day of the Seafarer, marked June 25 every year worldwide, is a day set aside by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) to celebrate seafarers and recognise their invaluable contribution to the global economy. This year’s virtual event, themed, “Seafarers are Keyworkers”, held via WebEx, specifically draws attention to the critical role and challenges of seafarers in the COVID 19 period.
NSC Boss Warns Maritime Agencies Against Unhealthy Rivalries
The Executive Secretary/ Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Barrister Hassan Bello, has warned agencies in the maritime sector to avoid superiority rivalry, saying it has done the industry more harm than good.
He also advised heads of maritime agencies to avoid cosmetic cooperation and come together for the development of the industry.
Bello gave this warning at a sent-forth ceremony organised in his honour, last Friday.
Bello bowed out of service last Friday after eight years of service.
He was appointed by the Goodluck Jonathan administration in 2013. Before his appointment, he was the Director, Legal Services of the NSC.
Bello noted that some agencies spent so much in defending their territories while neglecting their statutory mandates.
According to him, “There is lack of synergy among the agencies and I don’t think it is succeeding because it has been the basis of equality. There is no agency that is better than the other.
“Agencies are not graded by their budgets but what they contribute, but it is very unfortunate some agencies think that maritime starts and stops with them. No, it cannot work.
“Some agencies are trying to defend territories and in doing so, they go to a large extent and that is not good. They spend a lot of money to defend these territories while they neglect what they are established to do and that’s why we are not developing and that’s what Nigerian Shippers’ Council will never take from anybody not now, tomorrow or forever. We are all equal, we all have contributions to make.
“We can’t be having cosmetic cooperation, we have to have real cooperation”.
Bello said that the Federal Ministry of Transportation had undergone a lot of transformations, saying the era of state capture was over.
He lauded the Minister, Permanent Secretary and Directors of the Ministry for giving the Council the opportunity to achieve a lot through their supports.
By: Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos
Okowa Seeks Permanent Site For Maritime Varsity
The Delta State governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, has called on the Federal Government to develop the permanent site of the Nigeria Maritime University (NMU), Okerenkoko.
Okowa made the call while playing host to the Governing Council of the university during a courtesy visit at the Government House, Asaba.
He said the establishment of a permanent campus would go a long way in putting the university on a sound footing, and ultimately enable it to deliver on its core mandate of imparting sound maritime-related education on students.
The governor said he was happy that the institution took off academic activities at the temporary site but urged the Federal Government to make resources available for the construction of buildings and provision of amenities that would enhance academic activities.
He noted that the birth of the special educational institution for the training of manpower in the maritime sector had strengthened peace and the economy of riverine communities.
Okowa advocated the need for more projects to be sited in riverine areas because of the inputs of riverine areas to the economy of the nation.
“We thank God that the Maritime University has started even when we have challenges because we do know that the take-off of the university brought good news to our people and helped us to build peace, particularly in our riverine areas”, he said.
Earlier, Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Governing Council of the university, Dr Elias Courson, commended Governor Okowa for his inspiring and magnanimous support towards the take-off and continued development of the university.
He also thanked the governor for establishing three additional universities in the state, which would provide additional access to quality education not only to Deltans but to Nigerians.
Dr Courson, however, appealed to Okowa to assist the university in completing the renovation/ remodelling of the classroom blocks, construction of additional staff quarters and provision of a potable water scheme in the campus.
By: Chinedu Wosu
2022 Nations Cup: S’Eagles To Travel To Cameroon By Boat
The Lagos State Ferry Services (LAGFERRY) says it will convey the Super Eagles of Nigeria by boat to Cameroon for next year’s Nations Cup.
Managing Director, LAGFERRY, Abdullah Balogun, stated this in a statement.
“We plan to take Nigeria’s Super Eagles to Cameroon for next year’s Nations Cup after achieving that of Benin Republic — this is a goal we have set for ourselves”, Balogun said.
LAGFERRY said they considered the boat trip following the success recorded in the Benin experience.
He said, “It was a major milestone for us to transport Nigeria’s national team to the Benin Republic through the waterways.
“Coming on board LAGFERRY through the international route to the Benin Republic is a mind-blowing experience. We were excited to be part of it”.
The LAGFERRY boss said the success recorded in the Benin game, where the Eagles won 1-0 away, was as a result of the trouble-free trip.
“It reflected on the field of play and it showed on their (players) performances because they came out victorious in the game,” he said.
Balogun said the players, during next year’s boat trip, would enjoy free Wi-Fi, USB pots and a lot of entertainment and side attractions enabled by technology.
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