NIMASA Canvasses Local, Foreign Ship Jobs for Seafarers as Nigeria Commences MLC 2006 Implementation

In its determination to create employment for Nigerian-trained seafarers, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has committed to ensuring that Nigerian seafarers are gainfully employed on both Nigerian- and foreign-flagged vessels that call Nigeria’s territorial waters.
This is as the country recently joined the league of other maritime nations to commence the implementation of the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) 2006.
Nigeria’s instrument of ratification of the MLC 2006 was presented by Emeka Wogu, minister of labour and productivity, who led the delegation to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) office at the 102nd session of the International Labour Conference in Geneva, Switzerland.
Speaking at a special session with ship owners and seafarers on MLC 2006 implementation held in Lagos, Patrick Ziakede Akpobolokemi, director general, NIMASA, disclosed that the agency had also committed huge resources to the training of cadets through various programmes, including the Nigerian Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP), adding that the agency recently facilitated the training of over 700 seafarers on STCW to enable them update their mandatory certification.
According to the NIMASA DG, the ratification of MLC 2006 was a demonstration of Nigeria’s commitment to ensuring seafarers’ rights as it concerns their living and working conditions.
“MLC 2006 is dubbed the bill of rights for seafarers. It is an updated convention which creates a single instrument encompassing over 68 existing conventions and recommendations on seafarers,” he said.
He added that the ratification of the convention presented benefits to Nigeria in the areas of technical cooperation with other ILO member states, saying this had resulted in the training of 25 NIMASA labour inspectors.
Juliana Gunwa, director, maritime labour services, NIMASA, noted in her presentation that the convention was aimed to regulate ship owners who must ensure that fundamental rights of seafarers are upheld on board or ashore.
The agency consequently directs ship owners to ensure that each seafarer on board has a comprehensive, well-understood written contract of employment which includes detailed terms and conditions, provisions for reparation and distress of seafarers, and social security benefits.
Callistus Nwabueze Obi in his paper solicited a continued cooperation from all stakeholders to enable Nigeria fulfil its obligations as a ratifying member country.
The convention is also referred to as the fourth pillar of International Maritime Standards after IMO Conventions, Marpol73/78 ANNEX 1/11, SOLAS 1978 and STCW 78 as amended, all of which Nigeria has ratified. One of its main objectives is to achieve effective implementation at both Flag state and Port state control levels.
In a related development, the NIMASA DG has said that adequate sensitisation of boat operators, enlightenment of passengers and enforcement of safety standards are necessary to curb the growing cases of boat mishaps on Nigerian waters.
The NIMASA boss, who said this at the flag-off of ‘Safety Awareness Campaigns’ for boat operators and other mechanically-propelled watercrafts, added that NIMASA was committed to the safety of lives and property on the nation’s waterways and as such would continue to intensify safety awareness campaigns in states where water transportation was in high use.
He expressed concern over the increasing number of boat accidents which had claimed many lives and property recently, noting that information sharing with stakeholders had the potential to significantly reduce accidents.
According to him, the agency had committed to the enhancement of safety of marine transport because it had become important to educate boat operators and enlighten passengers utilising water transport on the safety procedures to be adopted at all times.
He therefore charged boat operators to adhere strictly to safety standards in all their operations in order to stem the ugly tide of boat accidents on the waterways.
The Safety Awareness Campaign which is in phases has already been conducted in Lagos, Cross River and Anambra States, while those of Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom, Rivers, Delta and Kogi States will commence this week.
Source: Business Day Online

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