Posted by News Express | 26 June 2016 | 3,137 times
The Director General (DG) of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside, has stressed the importance of seafarers in global shipping business, urging their employers and other critical stakeholders to begin to take seriously, issues bothering on their safety, work environment, welfare and health.
Peterside, who spoke on Saturday at the celebration of the International Day of the Seafarer, disclosed that the NIMASA is presently inundated with cases of employers refusing to pay seafarers salaries and allowances legitimately earned by them, and hoped that cases of poor welfare of the seafarers will become a thing of the past.
While delivering an address themed “At Sea for All,” Peterside said “It is pertinent for us to understand that without seafarers there will be no shipping transportation; thus we ought to recognise the importance and indispensability of shipping to the world’s socio-economic setting.”
He pointed out that maritime transportation more than any other mode of transportation, facilitates the movement of huge volume of global trade to various destinations across the world seas. The DG also disclosed that one of the core functions of NIMASA is the development of shipping and regulation of matters relating to merchant shipping and seafarers, which he said, clearly underscores the importance that the agency pays to the welfare of seafarers.
“This year’s campaign is aimed at celebrating Seafarers and letting the world know how and why seafarers are indispensible to everyone. As we mark this year’s day of the Seafarers, the focus is on maritime education and encouraging young people to consider a career at Sea," he said.
In line with Maritime Labour Convention, he identified a Seafarer as any person who is employed or engaged or works in any capacity on board a ship. “Thus from the Captain to the boiler and cook, the Convention applies to them; therefore seafarers also have employment and social rights as contained in Article IV of the MLC 2006.”
He pointed out that over the years, various types of vessels have been built for the purpose of carriage of persons and goods from one point to another. Technology has brought about improvement in the type, size, speed, design and compartments for carrying passengers and goods on board vessels. However, no matter how atheistically beautiful and well constructed in terms of navigation and operational capacity, the vessel will not move without someone to navigate across the vast oceans of the world.
He described the occasion as a rare opportunity for the world to celebrate the Seafarer who is rarely acknowledged as the core component in the development of global shipping, which explains why the International Maritime Organisation has as its theme for this year’s celebration as “At Sea for All”.
“It is important that stakeholders and the general public appreciate what the Seafarers endure when carrying out their responsibilities such as the many months they spend away from their loved ones under harsh weather conditions in the turbulent seas.
“Seafarers can be termed as citizens of the world in the sense that they are constantly on the move on account of the vessel which they are on board; they practically live their lives at sea and sometimes sacrifice a lot to ensure that passengers and goods get safely to their final destinations.
“In recognition of the above fact and given the global nature of shipping, seafarers need special protection; hence, the International Labour Organisation in 2006 came up with the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC), 2006 otherwise referred to as the seafarers’ Bill of Rights. A Treaty Nigeria has ratified.
According to Peterside, NIMASA, in realising the employment opportunity in seafaring as a result of the dearth of seafarers globally, introduced the Nigerian Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP) to afford Nigerians the adequate training and proper certification opportunity to get engaged in seafaring on board vessels irrespective of flag. This, he said is a strategic intervention of government as a way of making Nigeria a major supplier of seafarers like the Chinese, Indians and Phillipinos thus, contributing to Nigeria’s economic growth.
•Photo shows Dakuku Peterside.
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