International Oil Companies have been tasked to follow the new operational guidelines concerning the engagement of seafarers and dockworkers provided by the Cabotage Act by the Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).
The new guidelines which were disclosed to the IOCs and other stakeholders at a sensitisation seminar on the implementation of the agency’s statutory mandate on offshore operations in respect of maritime labour and cabotage, the Director, Maritime Labour Service of NIMASA, Juliana Gunwa, noted that same are to be fully complied with.
Gunwa gave the guidelines which would attract penalties for defaulters as follows: All IOCs/ facility operators are to engage only maritime labour employers registered with NIMASA as agencies for outsourcing of seafarers/dockworkers.
All IOCs/facility operators are to engage only maritime labour that is registered with NIMASA as seafarers/dockworkers; All IOCs/ facility operators are to ensure that only maritime labour employer that have conditions of service validated by NIMASA are engaged on their facilities.
All IOCs/facility operators are to ensure that employers of maritime labour implement the agreed conditions of services for the maritime labour industry; All IOCs/facility operators are to engage the cabotage services department of NIMASA for advice and periodic assessment on status of compliance with the Cabotage Act 2003 and manning of cabotage vessels.
All IOCs/facility operators are to ensure that only registered operators of ports, terminals, jetties, offshore platforms and vessels are qualified for service contracts on/in connection with their offshore facilities.
“This will be implemented as a “fatal flaw” during the tendering process. Facility owner will be held liable for contracting with unregistered operators of ports, terminals, jetties, offshore platforms and vessels.”
She told the stakeholders that the agency will soon commence enforcement of the provisions of the Cabotage Act as it concerns engagement of seafarers and dockworkers in the oil and gas sector.
Similarly, the agency’s Head of Maritime Service, Capt. Sunday Umoren, said that they have some challenges in the enforcement of the Cabotage Act because they do not have a database on numbers of vessels providing marine services to offshore operations of the IOCs.
Umoren also blamed the IOCs for not co-operating and not being open in the declaration of number of offshore marine vessels in their employment, as well as need to seek NIMASA’s approval in all pre-tender for offshore and related contracting processes.