CABOTAGE ACT IMPLEMENTATION
You’re incompetent, MWUN tells NIMASA
… Begs FG to establish ‘another National Shipping Line’
The NIMASA Management, according to MWUN, has failed woefully in executing its oversight function of detaining foreign vessels that have violated the nation’s laws.
MWUN noted that this dismal state of affairs had led to incessant abuse of the expatriate quota by foreign sailors.
Articulating the position of MWUN, its President-General, Mr. Anthony Nted said at the Delegates Conference of the Shipping and Seamen Water Transport Workers in Lagos that the non-implementation of the Cabotage Act has created room for less-qualified foreign sailors to take over the jobs, which by law are reserved for Nigerians.
Urging NIMASA and the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) to perform their respective regulatory and supervisory roles responsibly, Nted added that this is the only way the gains of the domestication of the Maritime Labour Convention 2006 can impact positively on Nigerian seafarers.
He also urged the Federal Government to reconsider establishing another National Shipping Line, noting that the absence of a national fleet has adversely affected emplyment opportunities for Nigerian seafarers.
He pointed out that, apart from the National Inland Waters Authority (NIWA), which, according to him, employs a few seamen, all other members of Shipping and Seamen Water Transport Workers are employees of private companies with the usual character and nature of private business concern towards condition of service negotiations.
“The nation’s Cabotage Law is very clear on the period that an expatriate is supposed to stay in the country to train Nigerians seafarers on the job. There is a clause in the law that says that nobody has the right to the Nigerian territorial waters order than the registered dock workers but rather what we have is a contravention of this law by international shipping companies and NIMASA is not doing anything about it.
“A situation where these expatriates flood the country to take over jobs meant for Nigerian seafarers will no longer be tolerated. The problem with management of NIMASA is that they are not carrying the union along in its activities. There are some things that are happening that we are not aware of and we are saying that it will no longer be business as usual. We will expose any criminal or unlawful activities of NIMASA,” Nted said.
The MWUN boss lamented the growing level of casualisation and outsourcing in the shipping/courier sector of the maritime industry, stressing that the threat of casualisation and other anti-workers policies of some management in the shipping/courier sectors has induced spirit of insecurity among the workers.
Noting that such precipitated low staff morale is not in the interest of the shipping companies, he said: “A motivated workforce is what is most desired for the progress of any organisation. We therefore advise management to jettison every anti-workers policy and embrace personnel motivational schemes and policies for richer harvest of higher productivity”.
Also speaking, the NIMASA Director-General, Mr. Patrick Akpobolokemi, explained that the issue of expatriate quota abuse is one of the challenges hindering the implementation of the Cabotage Law.
NIMASA, according to him, is collaborating with the NIS in efforts to check the situation.
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