If the statement credited to the newly-elected President of the Nigerian Ship-owners’ Association (NISA), Capt. Niyi Labinjo, is anything to go by, then better times lie ahead for Nigerian seafarers, especially those who have difficulties getting sea-time training.
Labinjo, in a discussion with journalists after his formal inauguration as NISA president said getting sea-time for seafarers is one of the three cardinal points of his agenda for the association.
He said, “One of my agenda for NISA is the road-map for seafarers training. These were the things I have said that I will do; these are the things we will pursue with vigour. And once we are inaugurated, I will take the issue of getting back our jobs squarely, especially from the ‘usurpers’!”
Labinjo said he was only waiting for the inauguration of the executive so that he could move in with his plans.
He identified the second aspect of his agenda as the strategy to energize a new regime of functional ship-repair and ship-yards.
“Our second agenda is the strategy to get our ship-yard and ship repair-yard functional. This will become necessary as a result of the infrastructural development which is due to follow a prosperous shipping regime, which all of us would soon collectively entrench.
“There would always be infrastructural development which would be reflected in the development of ship-repair yards or shipyard, because, this usually follow a prosperous shipping service.
“It is unheard of that foreign vessels will operate in our waters without waiver. The waiver provision in our Cabotage law itself is vista to allow for shortfalls in shipping service provision. And where there is no short fall, there is no need for a waiver.
“Yet, the vessels that work in our waters are not specialised vessels that the Nigerian ship-owners cannot provide. They are not! Including an FSO…the Nigerian ship-owners are providing them.
“So, where is the need for the waiver? It is just that we have been allowing the foreign companies to operate 10,000 tons, 15,000 tons and 30,000 toners-vessels in our waters in Nigeria. These are shipping services that the average Nigerian ship-owners can provide. And that is why we must get back our jobs from them, immediately after our inauguration! But, like I told you, the entire membership would be involved.
“The truth is that I have never kept my plans secret. I have made my plans open as to what I was coming to do. During the campaigns and particularly, both at the debate session and at my post-election statement, I have openly indicated that I have a single mission; to bring back the jobs of our members!” he highlighted, adding that the task is everyone’s task, only that it is compulsory that one person must be at the driver’s seat.
“So, it is the strategy to bring back our jobs that we are fine-tuning. We need to have all our members’ ships engaged; and that is my immediate concern, and that will start manifesting, the moment we are inaugurated”, he stated further.
“But as of now, my concentration, is for the inauguration which has been programmed for November 11, 2014; and already confirmed by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), to take place”, he also said, lauding the NIMASA for organizing an absolutely free, fair and transparent election
Copyright Ships & Ports Ltd. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit given to www.shipsandports.com.ng as the source.