Nigeria Maritime Industry Still Crisis – Ridden From Independence Says NIMASA

As Nigeria joined the world to celebrate the 2014 Seafarers Day, indications are that the Nigerian Maritime Industry is yet to disentangle itself from the retinue of crisis of low human capacities development of seafarers which have significantly bedeviled and affected the rate of growth of the industry right from independence.

This was stated recently delivered by the Executive Director Maritime Labour and Cabotage Services Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA)Barr. Calistus Nwabueze on the day of the Seafarer marked under the theme: “Seafarer Brought Me…” held at the Transcorp Hotel, Calabar, Cross River State.

Using Seafarer as the reference point, Barr. Nwabueze brought into mind the poor welfare condition of the seafarers at the local and global levels.
He recounted the arduous journeys they undertake, the life of isolation and boredom, their courage and determination that have stood seafarers out as beacon of hope for economic prosperity.
The Executive Director used the occasion to bemoan the nonexistence of a national carrier in Nigeria to cater for the training needs of the seafarers after the liquidation of the Nigerian National Shipping Line (NNSL) in the eighties.
The paper presentation by clement Nwuba (MLCS), on “Seafarer and Work Ethics”, defined seafarers as “unquantifiable catalyst in the development of the great economics of the world”. The paper highlighted the low standard of seafarers in Nigeria which cannot be adjudged to surpass the required standard and traced the reasons to wrong placement on board vessel without clear job delineation, forged or fake certification, compromised safety standard and professional ethics, among others. This Mr. Nwuba said contributed to manpower crisis and therefore mars the cabotage regime in Nigeria.
The paper called for the sustenance of the ongoing efforts in the development and training of the seafarers with a view to turning the industry around.

In a chat with our correspondent at the occasion, the Deputy Director Maritime Labour Services, NIMASA, Mrs. Ego Nwokocha described the day as great and the remarkably set aside for seafarers who make the human element without whom nothing could on their own be moved in and out of the ship around the world. Before now, Mrs. Nwokocha said emphasis has been on the vessels, machineries and materials without any attention on the seafarers, adding that the celebration is in the right direction to give the seafarers the sense of belonging as people who must be a appreciated whose element is the most important leg in the maritime pillar”.
The welfare of seafarers has received a boost in recent time with the coming into effect of the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) which dwells specially on the welfare, living and working condition of the seafarer. It talks about their welfare, accommodation, working environment, hours of work and bread and as well makes arrangement for repatriation when they die and financial security to Seafarers.

Mrs. Nwokocha used the opportunity to call on Seafarers to step up their game to the international global standard which is compulsory on board all vessels. She called on ship owners to know their obligations in the

MLC, and the seafarers themselves to be conscious of their expectations.
The celebration of seafarers day was set aside by iInternational Maritime Organization (IMO), on every 25th June, to drum up support and appreciation for the seafarers in recognition of their invaluable contributions to international trade and the world economy, often at a great personal risk to themselves and their families.

The day was first celebrated in 2011, following the resolution adopted by the conference of parties to the international convention on standard of training, certification and watch keeping for seafarers (STCW) 1978 held in Manila Philipines in June, 2010.

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