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Government may sanction erring shipping firms over seafarers’ welfare

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PHOTO: Tonye Bakare

The Federal Government has threatened to sanction ship owners who default in the implementation of the contributory pension scheme to aid the welfare of seafarers.

Besides, it has commenced the review of minimum wage for seafarers.

Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dakuku Peterside, disclosed these at the celebration of the 2018 Day of The Seafarer organised by NIMASA, in Warri, Delta State on Monday.

However, he urged the employers of seafarers to ensure that they implement the contributory pension scheme for their workers, threatening to report erring employers to the Pension Commission for appropriate sanctions.

On the minimum wages, Peterside said, “the National Joint industrial Council (NJIC) has concluded negotiations on the conditions of service of Nigerian Seafarers, including the minimum wages payable to all categories of seafarers. In this regard, l wish to assure you that the Agency will go the whole length in ensuring that the collective bargaining agreement CBA is implemented as agreed,”

Peterside said: “It is believed that by addressing the issue of Seafarers wellbeing and particularly their mental health, all other issues affecting their mental conditions such as stress and depression could effectively be tackled through the adoption of effective strategies in this regard.

Calling on all employers to ensure the promotion of lLO’s decent work Agenda which aims at promoting the workers mental health and wellbeing, Peterside said: “There is no doubt that Nigerians Seafarers are faced with a lot of challenges that are work related and bordering on depression arising from lack of job opportunities and long hours of work without commensurate pay. In most cases the seafarers work under strenuous conditions which they are subjected to by their employers.

Governor, Delta State, Ifeanyi Okowa, who was represented by his Deputy Governor, Kingsley Otuaro, thanked NIMASA for sighting the Maritime University, Okerekonko in Delta State, and assured of the state’s support to ensure that the objectives of establishing the university is achieved.

Okowa, who was represented by his Deputy Governor, Kingsley Otuaro said the university, which has commenced operations, would be a source of training more seafarers and add value to the national economy.

President, Maritime Workers’ Union (MWUN), Adewale Adeyanju said seafaring is a demanding and risk progression carried out in a dangerous workplace- the sea.

He advised the Federal Government to facilitate the establishment of a national shipping carrier.

“We believe that if a national carrier is in place, it will solve some problems of seafarers and other workers,” he said.

Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers’ Council, Hassan Bello, expressed his support for improved well being of seafarers, noting that the role of seafarers cannot be underrated, considering their contributions to global seaborne trade.


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Adewale AdeyanjuMWUNNJIC
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