I bring fraternal greetings of our great Association (NMNO/WTSSA) to the management of Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and also our profound appreciation to the Director General of NIMASA for the audience given to us to have this important meeting.
Today, we are here to build on the existing industrial relationship between our union and the management of NIMASA. This is without prejudice to the welfare of Nigeria Seafarers that we represent.
We live in a very challenging time occasion by the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic which has run the world economy aground with attendant results of unpaid salaries/wages, slashes in salaries & allowances to unimaginable rate, termination of employment without pay, movement restrictions, interstate travel ban, curfew and all the likes. Despite these odds, it is gratifying that NIMASA had demonstrated firmness in the discharge of her responsibilities.
I, Engr. Bob Joseph Yousuo, on behalf of Nigeria Seafarers (Officers), appreciate NIMASA for her good gestures towards us and the Agency swift response in ensuring that the Federal Government of Nigeria declared Nigeria Seafarers as essential workers during the lockdown and interstate travel ban in other to ease crew change and other challenges faced during the period. The palliatives given to us on behalf of Nigeria Seafarers (Officers) were distributed in a fair manner. Once again, Nigeria Seafarers say a big thanks to you & your Agency Sir.
Sir, we want to use this opportunity to inform you that we have been able to rent a duplex office apartment at No 14, Marine Road, Apapa Lagos. In line with the vision of our current leadership, a befitting National Secretariat is a sin que none. It is on this note we request the assistance of NIMASA towards getting Sound prove Generator, Computers, furniture’s & fittings etc to enable us achieve our set goal of making the new office the pride of Nigerian Seafarers (Officers) as we intend to invite you for the opening ceremony of the new Secretariat. An official letter to this end is on its way.
Also, we would like to remind you of an official vehicle the Agency has promised us, but up till date we haven’t gotten it. On this note, we appeal that you use your good office to expedite action for us to receive it.
We shall continue to collaborate with you in all areas to better the lives of an average Nigeria Seafarer (Officers) that are facing a lot of challenges among which are:
- UNPAID SALARIES: Some Manning Agents employs some desperate Nigeria Seafarers without duly signing contract agreement paper and thereby owing them salaries up to 8 months or more.
- MANNING AGENTS: Some Manning Agents are instigating Nigeria Seafarers (Officers) against joining the union. We totally condemn this act as it is against the MLC, 2006. Some Manning Agents are also deducting check – off dues from our members’ salaries without remitting same to us:
- By the virtue of signing the NJIC into law, Cap T14 section 5 sub section 3(a) 2004 and the MLC, 2006 recommends that all Nigeria Seafarers (Officers) are expected to be our members. As Seafarers representative, we therefore urge NIMASA to request as part of the criteria for Manning certificate renewal the evidence of check – off dues remittance to the union.
- Also, the MLC, 2006 recognizes Tripartite (Ship-owners, Government representatives & the Seafarers representatives in this case of the union. Most Ship-owners hire the services of Manning Agents without letting them interface with the union thereby creating issues of not recognizing/accepting the union which deny Seafarers from joining us as well as nonpayment of monthly check – off dues.
- It is also in compliance with the MLC, 2006 for a valid CBA to be onboard all vessels, therefore the need for the Agency to ensure all Shipping companies in Nigeria have duly signed valid CBA with the union onboard their vessels, by this, the welfare and wellbeing of the Nigeria Seafarers is guaranteed.
- The issue of Near Coastal Voyage (NCV) on Nigeria COC certificate has set us far behind our counterpart from other Maritime nations. We hereby appeal to NIMASA to either expunge NCV from the Certificates or issue unlimited Master & Chief Engineer for the deserving Nigerian Seafarers (Officers) who have the required educational qualification, working experience and the necessary documents to ply international waters by upgrading it through examination either by oral or written. In term of Academic qualifications and field experience, some younger Officers have been holding OOW unlimited for over 10 years which resultant effect have not allowed them to go beyond 2nd Officer position onboard. Chief Officer, Master, Chief and 2nd Engineer positions are reserved for foreign Seafarers (Officers) because they know Nigeria does not issue Class ll and l certificates.
- Waiver in our Cabotage catchment should be reviewed. NIMASA should be stricter on the crew waiver. Enforcement/monitoring team should be created and empowered; this will tackle those who are working with just ordinary application for waiver and temporary work permit from Immigration.
- NIMASA to sign bilateral agreement with more Countries to create enabling environment for Nigeria COC to be accepted in many Countries by signing MOU with more Flag States or other Maritime Countries, so they can recognize Nigerian COC’s.
- To give priority to Nigeria Seafarers in terms of employment opportunities and to consider having National Fleets for the purpose of training Nigeria Cadets.
- Above all to train Officers in some advance courses as well as the union executives for better performance.
In conclusion, we urge NIMASA to urgently look into all these issues and expedite action.
Thanks and God bless.
Long live Federal Republic of Nigeria!
Long live NIMASA!
Long live NMNO/WTSSA!
Long live Nigerian Seafarers (Officers)!