The Director-General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr Dakuku Peterside, has urged ship owners to employ Nigerian seafarers and give their welfare a priority attention to further develop the nation’s shipping sector.
Peterside said the National Joint Industrial Council (NJIC) comprising tripartite stakeholders would work out a decent wage and improved working conditions for seafarers.
He said at the “Day of the Seafarers” in Onne, Rivers, that on the part of the agency all International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and International Labour Organisation (ILO) conventions on welfare of the seafarers would be implemented.
The theme of this year’s celebration is “Seafarers Matter’’.
Peterside promised that such working conditions would be in line with the provisions of the IMO and ILO Conventions and comparable to what obtained internationally.
“It is, therefore, expected that once the collective bargaining agreement is signed, ship owners will commence its full implementation, ” the NIMASA DG said in a statement signed by the Head, Corporate Communications , Mr Isichei Osamgbi, on Friday in Lagos.
The director-general said that NIMASA was committed toward engaging ship owners on gainful employment for qualified Nigerian seafarers.
Peterside urged ship owners to give preference to indigenous seafarers, especially in the Cabotage trad as against the practice of engaging foreign seafarers.
“As Nigerians and maritime operators, we should be proud of our seafarers and also encourage them to develop their careers like their foreign counterparts.”
On the Cabotage Act, he promised that the agency would ensure its full implementation for the benefit of Nigerians.
“Cabotage Act is undergoing a review and it is the agency’s position that the review will take care of all the grey areas in the application, processing and granting of waivers.
“This is to give some advantage to Nigerian seafarers, especially in the areas of employment and specialised training,’’ he said.
Peterside said NIMASA would continue to give priority attention to capacity building initiatives with the agency developing a multi-strategy approach toward encouraging young school leavers to take up career in seafaring through the Nigerian Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP).
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the NSDP initiative of the NIMASA was conceived in 2008 to address dearth of seafarers in the country.
The programme has so far facilitated the training of 2,259 young Nigerians in various fields of maritime studies in reputable maritime institutions in the UK, Egypt, Romania, India and the Philippines.
A total of 943 cadets of the NSDP will soon be placed on board ocean- going vessels for their mandatory sea time as facilitated by NIMASA with institutions in Egypt, UK and Turkey.
In March 2017, NIMASA facilitated the training of 428 seafarers in mandatory courses and other specific areas of specialisation for career progression.
These include Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW), Oil Tanker Familiarisation (OTF), Efficient Deck Hand (EDH), ISPS awareness training and specialised training on Dynamic Positioning (DP).