The Chairman, Okrika
Speedboat Drivers Union, Mr Inichin Isaac, has given reasons why his union increased transport fare from N250 to N300 per passenger from Marine Base, Port Harcourt to Abuloma/Kalio Ama and Okrika in Rivers State.
Isaac in a telephone interview with The Tide on Tuesday, said they were forced to increase the fares because of the challenges they faced in procuring petrol from the filling stations across the state.
He said members of the union had never hiked the price for passengers but the lingering scarcity of fuel and the difficulty in getting the product had made them to take the action.
He, however, promised that when the condition improves, they would revert to their old price of N250 per passenger.
According to him, it is disheartening that filling station owners do not want to sell fuel to speedboat operators while their motoring counterparts purchase theirs at the filling stations, stressing that they find it extremely difficult to enable them operate their businesses.
The chairman disclosed that the cost of engine oil is now N900, and they have to mix one and half cans of engine oil into a 30 litre fuel tank (Jerry can) which they buy at the cost of N5,000 in order to enable them operate.
“You can imagine that within three trips, that fuel is finished and we have to start looking for another fuel to enable us operate for the day”, he lamented.
Isaac disclosed that they are ready to bring down the price if they could get the product (fuel) at ease and at reduced cost from filling stations. “Some even patronize bunkering fuel (black market) to operate for the day”, the speedboat chairman further fumed.
He however, called on the federal and state government to construct a fuel dump and filling stations at strategic points within the riverine communities and waterways in order to alleviate the sufferings of the speedboat operators and hike in fare as a result of difficulty in having fuel to operate their boats.
MWUN Hails Terminal Operators Over CBA Implementation
Following the clampdown of APM Terminal by Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) over poor remuneration, the Union has commended terminal operators for implementing the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) it signed with the union last year.
The agreement was signed between the Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN) and MWUN to improve the welfare of dockworkers and ensure sustained industrial harmony.
President of MWUN, AdewaleAdeyanju, said the implementation of the CBA has been encouraging following substantial compliance by terminal operators.
“The implementation of the NJIC agreement so far has been encouraging. I can say we have gotten 80 percent implementation.
“The Dockworkers know their do’s and don’ts on the NJIC and the areas we are having challenges is being handled internally in conjunction with the stakeholders.
“If the workers are not well paid, you would see it in their faces and with the NJIC that came into place, I don’t think we have any problem,” he said.
Adeyanju also decried the worsening Apapa gridlock, stressing that a permanent solution to the gridlock would be the establishment of holding bay facilities for trucks.
“The Presidential Task team cannot do beyond what they are doing on the gridlock. We should rather blame the shipping companies that are moving their empty containers into the terminal.
“If you don’t have anything doing in the port, why are you bringing your empty containers to litter the roads? They are using our roads as garage where they park and stack containers.
“So, we should apportion the blame to some of the shipping companies too, because their empty containers should be stacked somewhere else, not inside the port.
“The issue of holding bays should be discussed by the Federal Government and with the terminal operators. I know there are efficient terminal operators who know their onions,” he stated.
Noting that the issues that led to the MWUN strike have been resolved, Adeyanju said APM Terminals Apapa and the union have resolved issues on the CBA. He urged workers to resume operational activities at the terminal immediately.
Recall that MWUN embarked on a two days warning strike over poor remuneration by APM terminals on Nigerian Dockworkers at itApapa facilities.
By: Chinedu Wosu
Eight Ships With AGO, PMS, Others Expected At Eastern Ports, Today
Eight Sea going vessels laden with AGO, Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), and other cargos are expected to berth at different terminals today at Eastern Ports to discharge cargoes.
The manifest of the ships and cargoes was contained in the Weekly Shipping Position Magazine published by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and made available to The Tide in Port Harcourt.
The Authority said the ships are expected to arrive at Rivers Port Complex, and Calabar Port with the Commodities.
According to the publication, the ships are laden with AGO, PMS, Bulk Wheat and Steel Pipes.
It gave the names of the Vessels for Rivers Port Complex as Grand Dionysus, MT Creamiera, Matrix Ilu and Kowe.
Other ships due for the Ports includes, Keonamex Victory, Kmarin Melbourne, MT. Picton and Rising Sun.
Names of he shipping agents contained in the manifest are Alraine, Amco, Peak Shipping and Tera Shipping Limited.
Others are Allison Shipping, Tiger Shipping Company, and Katrim Shipping.
NPA noted that the arrival of the vessels and cargos would make AGO, PMS, Steel pipes and others available to the end users and improve trade and commerce in the region and beyond.
Pirates Cart Away N.1m Loot From Traders
A five-man gang of suspected sea pirates attacked traders and fishermen along Akwakpa, Uruan Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State and carted away over N.1 million from them.
The pirates, who shot sporadically to scare away intruders, also beat up the traders during their mission.
Narrating her ordeal, Mrs Victoria Pius, one of the victims, said the pirates collected about one million naira from her. She said the money was part of a loan.
“They shot in the air severally, beat us mercilessly before collecting our things,” she said.
The stranded woman said the pirates also kidnapped some of the traders on the boat.
Victoria also said the pirates disguised themselves as fishermen to carry out their nefarious activities on unsuspecting traders.
She appealed to the State Police Command to assist and check the incessant attacks on fishermen, traders and women along the waterways.
Earlier, Police in the State said it had rescued 28 fishermen kidnapped by a five man gang in the State.
Commissioner of Police, Olatoye Durosinmi, said the fishermen were rescued through intelligence gathering.
According to him, as soon as he got the report, he drafted marine officers who were able to rescue the victims at the creeks where the gang held them hostage for over eight hours.
“The 28 men and women you see here are the people rescued by the marine police officers.
“They (pirates) seized the boat of the victims and put them where they will not come out.
“These men of the underworld will pretend to be fishermen. We’ve actually caught five of them before and put them in detention. The long arm of the law will soon catch up with all of them.
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