Nigeria to strengthen maritime development partnership with South Korea
The Federal Government is to strengthen its partnership with South Korea as part of measures to sustain development in the maritime sector. The areas of cooperation will include transfer of technology in ship building; manpower training and development; and sea safety strategies.
Receiving South Korean Consul-General to Nigeria, Lee Younghoan in his office in Lagos, Director-General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside said there is need to strengthen the strategic partnership between Nigeria and the Republic of Korea in the maritime industry, “as the two countries stand to derive mutual benefits from such relationship”.
Peterside, who described Korea as a great ship building nation, appealed to the Consul-General on the need for qualified Nigerian seafarers to be placed onboard Far East Asian country’s vessels operating in the Nigerian maritime domain.
According to Peterside, Nigeria has a pool of qualified seafarers and other competent maritime personnel that can adequately serve the global maritime industry.
He reiterated the agency’s commitment to tackle “the daunting menace of piracy and related forms of criminal activities at sea”.Peterside said: “Nigeria is poised to tackle the menace of piracy and we have recorded great successes in the past three months and our vision is to have safe and secure oceans with zero piracy activities in the next one year”.
The Consul-General commended NIMASA for its efforts in fighting piracy activities, adding that there is need for more surveillance and security in safeguarding lives and property on the nation’s waterways.He assured the DG of the readiness of the Korean Government to support Nigeria, especially in the areas of safety and security.
Meanwhile, Peterside has charged protesting dockworkers from the ENL Terminal to be law abiding while the agency tries to resolve the dispute through a tripartite meeting with the leadership of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria, ENL management and NIMASA.
Addressing the protesting dockworkers on Friday, Peterside reiterated the agency’s commitment to the welfare of all dockworkers at the nation’s seaports.
Briefing the DG on the reasons for their protest, the spokesman of the workers, Lekan Afolabi alleged that the workers have been working at the ENL terminal for the past 10 years without appointment letters.He explained that they were only recently issued the letters after they made their grievances known to the ENL Management.
He also appealed to the DG to intervene on the issue of their terminal benefits in order to avoid chaos at the ports. But in a swift reaction, the management of ENL Consortium, operator of Terminals C and D of the Lagos Port Complex (LPC), Apapa, said the company is ready to pay off dockworkers who intend to quit their jobs.
Legal Adviser of ENL Consortium, Uzamot Boye, in a statement, explained that contrary to claims in “certain quarters”, workers were issued with valid employment letters when they joined the company.
He said: “It must be on record that these set of dockworkers elected to leave the terminals by themselves. Those of them who want to continue working with us, and who are in the majority, are at their job posts as we speak but the few that want to leave are free to do so.
“We have been meeting with the union and officials of NIMASA to work out modalities for their payments, which we are ready to pay in full in consonance with the NJIC agreement.
“Everyone in the industry knows ENL Consortium to be a people-focused organisation. We empower our people and enable them to be the best. Our Executive Vice Chairman/Chief Executive Officer places the welfare of workers above every other consideration.
“The few dockworkers who want to be paid off should be patient and work with their leaders. They will receive their full retirement benefits in line with negotiated agreements.” Peterside recently commended the resolve by the European Union (EU) to invest over 20 million euros on maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea.
Receiving a delegation of EU consultants led by Chris Hedley, Peterside said such step should be commended, adding that other partners should collaborate with the agency and Nigeria to eradicate the piracy and other criminal activities in the Gulf of Guinea.
A statement issued by NIMASA’s head of media, Hajia Lami Tumaka quoted Peterside as saying:“More than ever, Nigeria is better positioned to take advantage of strategic partnerships to make the country the hub of maritime activities in West and Central Africa”.