Impersonation Mars Maritime Workers’ Welfare
Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Temisan Omatseye, has attributed the inability of the agency to adequately cater for seafarers and dockworkers in the maritime sector to the impersonation of manning agents on board vessels.
The NIMASA boss, who lamented the cases of fake manning agents in the sector, said this is making it impossible for the agency to fulfill its responsibilities to the workers.
“The story is the same for manning agents, these illegal manning agents board crew vessels without certification thereby leading to lack of data to plan their welfare, this impersonation by agents implies pervasive crewing of vessels by quacks with inherent danger to life and property at sea”, he said.
By virtue of the NIMASA Act 2007, all issues that relate to International Labour Organisation (ILO) and all other issues that have to do with seafaring, including the International Maritime Organisation, lies with NIMASA.
Omatseye, while addressing stakeholders at a roundtable meeting on the engagement of seafarers and dockworkers under NIMASA Act, disclosed that the agency is poised to ensure compliance and full registration by all dockworkers and seafarers.
According to him, less than three percent of dockworkers operating in the western zone are registered with NIMASA and that out of 770 seafarers operating in the zone, only 47 of them are registered on board cabotage ships.
He expressed disappointment at the figure saying that the above statistics is probably an outcome of ignorance or evasion but it is pertinent to point out that fees are not attached to their registration, it is also important to point out that by registering, seafarers are helping NIMASA to cater for them through conduct of examinations, certification and review of condition of services.
However, the leadership of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) anticipates a turn around on the condition of service for all maritime workers in the country.
Secretary General of MWUN, Aham Ubani, who represented the president general, Tony Nted at the stakeholders meeting, lamented that since the enactment of the cabotage act, maritime workers are yet to reap its dividends.
“On the enactment of the Cabotage Act, we were expecting an employment boom for our seafarers, but we are yet to realise that, we were promised by the authorities that port concession will bring about greater opportunities for the employment of more dockworkers and permanent staff. These promises have become a cruel device as over 60 percent of the dock workers are now jobless”, he added.
Minister Charges NRC On Functional Port Community System
Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Jaji Sambo, has called for the unbundling of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) in line with the vision and objectives of Government’s current reforms in the transportation sector.
Sambo said as it is presently constituted, the NRC cannot operate optimally, hence necessary reforms and unbundling have become imperative.
The Minister, who was addressing the management team of the Ministry of Finance Incorporated (MOFI), led on a visit to his office by the CEO, Dr. Armstrong Katang, charged MOFI to drive the unbundling of the NRC to make it more economically viable while offering world class services to Nigerians.
“One of the things I will like to see as the Minister of Transportation, through MOFI is the unbundling of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC). There is a Committee set up to unbundle NRC and I will urge you to work with the existing Committee”, he said.
The MOFI was incorporated under the provisions of Sections 2 and 3 of the Ministry of Finance Incorporated (MOFI) Act of 1959 as an asset holding company under the Federal Ministry of Finance.
MOFI is the sole manager of all Federal Government investment interests, estates, easement and rights.
The Minister made reference to the reforms implemented in the ports and the benefits these have brought, noting that such should be carried out in railway sector.
“The NRC, the way it is currently, is the way the ports were prior to concession, prior to the reforms of 2005. Today, even the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) workers are happier about how NPA is today compared to how it was prior to the reforms. This means the reformed NPA is generating more revenues to support its operations and also support its workforce and its pensioners”, he said.
The Minister, who assuaged the fear of job loss as a result of the unbundling, said, “I don’t want the NRC staff to see the unbundling of the NRC as a threat to their jobs. If we have a better performing NRC, then we are going to have better salaries for its workers, better working conditions for its workers, more revenue for the FG and therefore the ability to even build more rail networks”.
Sambo noted that the issue of encroachment on railway property will soon be a thing of the past as “MOFI was berthed for a specific reason and that reason is for the Federal Government to take control of its assets and create optimum value for these assets”.
In his contribution, the Minister of State for Transportation, Prince Ademola Adegoroye, extolled the capabilities of the Managing Director, MOFI, Dr. Armstrong, saying he has full confidence that the MOFI team will deliver on the job.
Also speaking, the Permanent Secretary, Dr. Magdalene Ajani, noted that the MOFI team being made up of young and intelligent people has satisfied the yearning of Nigerians to have young people in positions of responsibility.
By: Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos
NPA Shops For $800m To Rehabilitate 4 Ports
The Nigeria Ports Author ity (NPA) says its proposed rehabilitation of four Ports in the country will gulp $800 million, its Managing Director (MD), Mr. Mohammed Bello-Koko, has said.
The Ports, according to him, are Tin Can Island Port and Apapa Port in Lagos, Onne Port in Rivers State, rehabilitation of the Escravos breakwaters in Warri Port, and the Calabar Port in Cross River State.
Bello-Koko disclosed this while speaking at the International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH) Europe and Africa 2023 Regional meeting which held recently in Germany, with the Vice-President of both regions, Jens Meier (Europe) and Micheal Luguje (Africa), hosting IAPH members CEO’s to a top level discussions.
According to the NPA boss, the $800 million loan facility will be repayable in a seven- year period once secured.
According to him,” NPA would have opted to fund the project, but that will reduce its contribution to the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF).
“The rehabilitation would help in achieving the digitalization of all ports in Nigeria as port rehabilitation and remedial works are no more effective. These ports need total rehabilitation”, he stated.
By; Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos
IBF Delists Nigeria From Unsafe Water List
The International Bargaining Forum (IBF), a global agency, has delisted Nigeria from the unsafe water list.
The removal of Nigeria from the list of countries designated as risky maritime nations by the IBF is a confirmation of the improved global ratings of Security in Nigerian maritime domain as a result of sustained collaborative efforts of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and the Nigerian Navy.
This was contained in a statement by NIMASA’s Assistant Director in charge of Public Relations, Osagie Edwards, a copy of which was made available to The Tide in Port Harcourt.
According to Osagie, IBF is the body that brings together the International Transport Federation (ITF), and the international maritime employers that make up the Joint Negotiating Group (JNG).
He said IBF listed 5 designated risk areas and applicable benefits in the event of attacks leading to deaths and disability.
He also said the Gulf of Guinea is the second extended war risk zone covering Liberia/Ivory Coast border to 00°N 005°E, to the Angola/ Namibia border.
Reacting to the delisting in a statement, Director General of NIMASA, Dr Bashir Jamoh, described it as a landmark achievement under the Administration of President Muhammadu Buhari,.
“This achievement is a product of a well-structured multimodal policy which has been implemented over the years to fight piracy and other criminalities in Nigerian Waters.
“The Legal instrument called SPOMO Act signed into Law by President Buhari in 2019, the full implementation of the Deep Blue Project by NIMASA, expanded assets and capacity of the Nigerian Navy, enhanced cooperation between NIMASA and the Nigerian Navy, and the regional collaborative efforts under the umbrella of SHADE Gulf of Guinea midwifed by NIMASA, are all policies of the current administration and the benefits are gradually coming to fruition.
“We are focused on ultimately improving and reducing the cost of commercial shipping in Nigeria”, he said.
The statement further disclosed that notable maritime institutions such as the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) and the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), have lauded the reduction in piracy in Nigeria following enhanced patrol and relevant Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) entered by NIMASA with other security agencies.
The 2023 IBF list called for double compensation for seafarers who die or suffer disability on the date of attack on vessels in the Gulf of Guinea.
By: Chinedu Wosu
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