Senator Gbemisola R. Saraki,

The Honourable Minister of State for Transportation,

Federal Ministry of Transportation


Her Excellency,


It is a privilege to have this opportunity to discuss some of the issue bothering on Nigerian Seafarers of which I am the National President and our Maritime sector at large. Without taking much of our time and standing on the existing protocol, I want to use this opportunity to appreciate you for this first of its kind Town – Hall meeting with the Seafarers unions. Without missing words, you are a pace setter and I pray that God Almighty will continue to strengthen you.


On this note, please, permit me to outline the following issues demanding your urgent attention/action:

  • MARITIME INSTITUTIONS: The Federal Government owned Maritime Institutions (ORON, to be given International look to meet international standard and recognition so as to have the opportunity of issuing Class II & I COCs. By this the brain drain of our Nigerian Seafarers travelling overseas for the above class (COC) will be reduce to the barest minimal.


  • BILATERAL AGREEMENT: We urge NIMASA to sign bilateral agreement with other flag States, Multinational, other Maritime Countries and Institutions in order to enhance the ability of our Seafarers holding our COC to get placement and due recognition.


  • SEATIME: All Cabotage vessels should be mandated to allow/accommodate at least (2) Two Cadets per vessel for their cadetship training.


  • Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA): The National Joint Industrial Council (NJIC) should be review as a matter of urgency and all the shipping companies be made to have CBA in their respective companies with the unions.


  • MENTAL CARE: Mental health challenge among Seafarers is rising; NIMASA should ensure that Ship owners, Managers and Charterer take mental health of Seafarers seriously.


  • ABANDONMENT/REPATRIATION: NIMASA should lead a global crusade against ship abandonment, recks and abandoned vessels should be off our waters.


  • UNPAID WAGES: NIMASA should come to the aid of Nigerian Seafarers by educating the ship owners on the need or importance of prompt wage payment. Wages should be paid as at when due.


  • CRIMINALIZATION: Seafarers should not be criminalize and punished for following the order of the Ship-owners, Manager or Charterer. Fair hearing should be given to them.


  • NATIONAL CARRIERS: NIMASA should consider going under partnership in form of Public/Private partnership (PPP) to acquire vessels for training and commercial purpose.

I on behalf of the National Executive Council, National Executives, Zonal Council’s Executives/Members and staff of our great Association, Nigeria Merchant Navy Officers and Water Transport Senior Staff Association (NMNO/WTSSA) and our sister union, Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN), welcome every one of you here present: eminent Dignitaries, Captains & Chief Engineers of industries, Distinguished Guests , Ladies and Gentlemen, on the occasion of our 2nd Annual Seafarers Colloquium theme: Nigeria COC, It’s Global acceptability, Challenges and Way forward.

I wish to also express our profound and immense gratitude to organizations and individual whose enormous contributions and support have made the organizing of our 2nd Annually Seafarers Colloquium a reality, especially International Transport Workers Federation (ITF), Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC), Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), also all the planning and organizing committee members headed by erudite Engr. Wale George.

It gladdens my heart today as I look through the hall seeing Officers; Ratings; Cadets as well as Maritime students in one accord ashore just like we do onboard, to proffer solutions to challenges adherent to our voyages in discharging of our professional duties as Seafarers over the years. The idea of organizing an annual colloquium to commemorate International Day of Seafarers was born out of the desire to ensure that Nigerian Seafarers come under one umbrella annually to take stock of our stewardship – where we were yesterday, today and what is required of us to do in other to be at the preferred destination in future like other established Maritime Nations of the world. We all are aware that no Captain Sail on a voyage without first of all plotting his or her chart. This year International Day of Seafarers theme: “Your Voyage – Then and Now, Share Your Journey”, is very symbolic and key to our colloquium vision and concept as it has to do with taking stock of our journey so far.

In view of the foregoing, we discovered that if we are able to discuss pertinent issues affecting Nigerian Seafarers and come up with a communiqué on the way forward which will be transmitted to relevant Authorities to use as a working document. This will go a long way to proffer solutions towards ameliorating challenges faced by Nigerian Seafarers.

Once more I sincerely welcome you all to this epoch making event, I pray that it will be a memorable one and wish us fruitful deliberation.

Thank you.

Long live Seafarers!
Long live the Two Maritime Unions!!
Long live Nigeria!!!

Solidarity for ever!