Director-General of NIMASA, Mr. Ziakede Patrick Akpobolokemi, said that the ratification and eventual domestication of MLC 2006 will “open a new vista for the nation’s shipping sector.”
Represented by the Executive Director, Maritime Labour and Cabotage Services, NIMASA, Barrister Callistus Obi Nwabueze, at the official presentation of Nigeria’s instrument of ratification of the MLC 2006 by Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chief Emeka Wogu, to the Director-General of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), Mr. Guy Ryder, Akpobolokemi said: “The ratification of MLC 2006 is a defining moment for the Nigerian maritime sector. It comes with a whole lot of activities that will greatly impact on the maritime sector in terms of labour and in terms of crewing. As a matter of fact, it opens a new vista entirely. Today we’ve just finished with the submission of the instrument of ratification; when we get back home, we will begin an entirely new process that will turn the sector around.”
The NIMASA boss said that the MLC 2006 sets out seafarers’ rights to decent conditions of work on a wide range of subjects, and aims to be globally applicable, easily understandable, readily updatable and uniformly enforced.
He described the convention as the “fourth pillar” of the international regulatory regime for quality shipping, complementing the key Conventions of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).
NIMASA, according to him, will work other stakeholders to vigorously pursue the domestication of the Convention within the shortest possible time frame.
He spoke shortly after the instrument was submitted to the ILO Director- General.
The auspicious submission of Nigeria’s instrument for the ratification and eventual domestication of the MLC 2006 was done on the sidelines of the 102nd Session of the ILO International Labour Conference, which held in Geneva, Switzerland.
The MLC 2006 is a convention of the ILO.
It provides comprehensive rights and protection at work for the world’s more than 1.2 million seafarers.
He Convention aims to achieve both decent work for seafarers and secure economic interests in fair competition for quality shipowners.
The new labour standard consolidates and updates more than 68 international labour standards related to the maritime sector adopted over the last 80 years.
“This occasion brings back memories of the active participation of Nigeria in the arduous task of the member states of the ILO to consolidate 68 maritime labour conventions into one single instrument. This process, which lasted for a period of five years, eventually culminated in the adoption of this landmark convention. The need for international labour standards for the protection of seafarers and ship owners have long been recognised – as the shipping industry is one of the oldest organised sectors in the world today. In recognising this need, Nigeria has decided to join other countries that have ratified this very important Convention known as the seafarers’ bill of rights in order to safeguard the fundamental rights of the seafarers and ship owners. Today marks the beginning of a journey that will take Nigerians to a higher level in the maritime industry,” Wogu said shortly before presenting the ratification instrument to Ryder.
The Labour and Productivity Minister said that the discovery of oil in many countries in the West African sub-region, including Nigeria, has increased maritime activities, thus making the ratification of MLC 2006 more compelling.
Also speaking, the ILO Director-General commended the Nigerian Government for ratifying the Convention.
Ryder said that Nigeria becomes the 38th nation to have formally signed and submitted its ratification instrument.
He said that the 38 countries that have ratified the Convention jointly account for 69 per cent of global ship tonnage.
Several stakeholders, who witnessed the submission of the ratification instrument, including the former Executive Chairman of the defunct Joint Maritime Labour Industrial Council (JOMALIC) and pioneer Board Chairman of NIMASA, Alhaji Tijjani Ahmed Ramalan; and Chairman of the National Seafarers’ Welfare Board (NSWB), Otunba Kunle Folarin, commended President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration for promptly ratifying the MLC 2006.
Chairman, House Committee on Treaties, Hon. Dayo Bush Alebiosu; and Chairman, House Committee on Labour, Employment and Productivity, Hon. Essien Ekpenyong Ayi, who were part of the official delegation to the event, assured of their commitment to work with other stakeholders for prompt domestication of the Convention.