Master mariners commend seafarers for their sacrifices, perseverance… highlight discourses for industry growth
The Nigerian Association of Master Mariners (NAMM) has commended seafarers for the work they do and for their perseverance of being on board ships for long periods of time beyond normal contractual agreement.
President of the NAMM, Captain Tajudeen Alao, gave the commendation on Thursday at the 2021 World Maritime Day, which was marked in Lagos.
Speaking, Alao said seafarers had contributed so much to trade, even at a time of the pandemic when businesses and almost all activities around the world were closed.
He said; “…we have to commend the contribution of seafarers in moving World Trade during the peak of ravaging corona virus pandemic – a time when “NO FLY ZONE” was imposed on aviation – yet cargo ships were allowed to sail worldwide manned by seafarers.”
He noted that as a result of the Covid-19 Pandemic seafarers were subjected to several health protocols and subjected to restrictions that compelled them to isolate before boarding and disembarking ship, without pay.
Capt. Alao added that supporting the welfare of seafarers was important as many times they suffered loneliness, being away from home and loved ones for very long- a situation that has caused so much worry.
His words: “We should note that being at sea is likened to being in prison with danger of sinking. It affects mental wellness. It imposes loneliness as a result of restricted social life onboard.
“Concerns associated with seafaring amongst others include lack of shore leave as at when due, longer separation from family – broken marriages, children not recognizing fathers, increased work load, which causes fatigue, fear of attack from pirates and being kidnapped, worries of loss of jobs/ loss of income, frustration and calling it quit or even committing suicide.”
The master mariner president, however, encouraged stakeholders to take closer look at some issues for the purposes of conversations to improve the maritime industry in Nigeria;
- Respect/ Better welfare package for engaged seafarers
- Unemployment rate, especially in our coastal trade despite cabotage Act – We have an Academy of international standard with modern facilities and surplus seafarers on ground – but no jobs.
- We have Cargo, but NO SHIPS
- ISSUE of CVFF – 2003 to help Shipping Companies acquire ships – CVFF was a private initiative and in custody of Government. Government taking over the money should not be accepted.
- Ship Acquisition Loan for international Trade – Shipping Decree 10 1987. No more disbursement of loan.
- National carrier: We need to start one. Once upon a time, Nigerian Ships flew Nigeria flags all over the World except waters of Vancouver/ Peru and Australia
Our advice to the Hon. Minister of Transport:
- Identify Cargo available for Nigeria – UNCTAD/CABOTAGE ACT
- Form A Shipping Company
- Charter Ships to carry the cargo.
- Acquire Ships – List the Company in Stock exchange – Sell shares to Public – so every Nigerian has interest.
- Shipping is knowledge driven as well as Technology – Training of those providing support Services in this area is equally essential
- Support to Mission to Seafarers Marine Road, Apapa – Rehabilitate the Facilities, to enable it give succor to international seafarers calling in our Port.
On this day: We should congratulate Nigeria in putting into effect all International Maritime Organization Conventions, especially MLC, STCW, and establishment of all maritime agencies to drive them.