October 1, 2022

Maritime Today Online

latest news and events in maritime and shipping

MWUN tasks NIMASA on reducing high cost of seafarers’ certificates

Maritime workers union calls off strike at Apapa port

By Shulammite ‘Foyeku

The Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) has decried the high cost of acquiring seafarers medical and discharge certificates, noting its huge negative impact on seafarers in the midst of a poor welfare package set by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).

Nigerian seafarers say they pay as high as N30,000 for medical certificates, which is not always available in addition to other excessive charges by NIMASA.

Speaking at the 5th quadrennial delegates conference of the Seamen/NIWA Water Transport Workers branch in Lagos on Wednesday, Adeyanju called on NIMASA to reduce the high cost of documentations for seafarers as well as improve on its regulatory function to bring Nigerian seafarers to parity with their foreign counterpart.

Adeyanju, who lamented foreign dominance on the nation’s territorial waters said the development has put a large number of competent seafarers out of job despite having the needed skill and experience.

The MWUN boss also berated NIMASA over the non-issuance of biometric Seafarers’ Identity Document (SID) and that of dockworkers at the ports despite repeated calls by the union over the years.

While calling on the Federal Government to upgrade the training facilities in the Maritime Academy of Nigeria, MAN, Oron to global standards to give seafarers global recognition, Adeyanju reiterated the union’s demand for action in the payment of pension to laid off seafarers of the defunct national shipping line.

“NIMASA is the regulatory agency that is supposed to take care of the welfare of seafarers and dockworkers. We call on NIMASA to quickly put all machinery in motion. The issue of high cost of acquiring medical certificate, high cost of obtaining discharge certificates, non-enforcement of the cabotage act, lack of seafarers’ pool and that of the dock workers, lack of national shipping line, lack of certified training institute of world standard for the seamen should be addressed.

“We are not seeing NIMASA as our enemy but the way you lay your bed so you sleep on it. We want NIMASA to know our grievances that things are not well with seafarers and dockworkers. Foreign crew are taking over the job of Nigerian seafarers when we have qualified seafarers that are capable of doing the job,” he said.

Meanwhile, Comrade Sunday Avoseh has been elected as President of the Seamen/NIWA Water Transport Workers branch of the union for a four-year term.

Avoseh, a former district Chairman in Lagos took over from Comrade Bunu, who has been elected as President General of the union.

Speaking shortly after his swearing in ceremony, Avoseh tasked NIMASA on proper regulation of manning agents and seafarers’ employers in the country.

He said there is a need to have a comprehensive database of registered and genuine manning agents in the country just as he called on NIMASA to reduce the cost of discharge books for seafarers.

Adeyanju, on his part urged the newly elected President to be proactive, embrace dialogue in dealing with issues of concern bordering on seafarers’ welfare and work with the directions of the leadership of the union to maintain industrial peace in the maritime sector.