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Most Seafarers Trained by Nigerian Government Cannot be Found, Says ITF Official

... Seeks Upgrade of Certificate of Competency


The International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) has queried the whereabouts of seafarers who were trained under the National Seafarers’ Development Programme (NSDP) by the Federal Government through the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).

The Seafarers Development Programme is a project created by the NIMASA to address the dearth of trained and certified seafarers in the Nigerian maritime industry. So far, more than 3,000 Nigerians have been trained since its commencement in 2008.

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But reacting to the low impact recorded with the NSDP project, Africa Regional Secretary of ITF, Muhammed Safiyanu, who raised concerns about the low number of seafarers from the continent, lamented that the figures of seamen has been discouraging.

Safiyanu disclosed this when he accompanied Mrs Barning Annica Marie, the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) London, Project Coordinator on Maritime Affiliate Support project( MAS) for ITF, who paid a working to the national secretariat of the Nigerian Merchant Navy Officers and Water Transport Senior Staff Association (NMNOWTSSA) on Tuesday in Lagos.

He affirmed that a total of 78,000 seafarers are from the continent of Africa despite the over one million sailors recorded from the global data base for seafarers.

Safiyanu who decried the poor number of seafarers representation from the Africa continent against the background of the million sailors worldwide, raised concerns of the high number of graduates from the NSDP project by NIMASA and their sudden disappearance from the international scene.

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He said that the Africa seafarers figure is not a enough to that of Indian sailors alone talk less of Asia as a continent.

According to him,the development was political driven on the international front but added that the seafarers unions and government of Nigeria should go back to the drawing board and promote policies that will encourage seamen get unlimited certification against the backdrop of limited certificates issued to them .

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” Where are the hundreds of seafarers trained by NIMASA. Where are they, he queried, stressing that it’s a political issues.

The ITF official reiterated that the limited Certificate of Competence (CoC) obtained by Nigerians is a clear indication of the seafarers’ scope of participation professionally.

He called on the two affiliate unions in Nigeria – namely, the Maritime Workers’Union of Nigeria MWUN and the Nigerian Merchant Navy Officers and Water Transport Senior Staff Association (NMNOWTSSA).

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“How can we seat with the government and share the potentials of seafarers. Why must be get licenses with limited certificate. It is a clear indication that we have killed ourselves “,he lamented.

 

On her part , Mrs Annica commended the two unions for the collaboration to protecting seafarers’living conditions in Nigeria.

Annica expressed commitment to the actualisation of the MAS project in Nigeria, even as she called on the union for synergy.

Speaking, Secretary General the Nigerian Merchant Navy Officers and Water Transport Senior Staff Association (NMNOWTSSA), Comrade John Okpono Aleakhue called on ITF to show solidarity support about moves to unionise more organisations.

The Secretary General affirmed that the Trade Union Congress TUC affiliate has a good working relationship with MWUN on issues bothering on seafarers locally and internationally.

Aleakhue commended the ITF representatives from London for the visit to the national secretariat of the union ,noting that seafarers welfare has remained paramount .

 

President General of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria ( MWUN) under the leadership of Comrade (Prince) Dr. Adewale Adeyanju, also commended Mrs Annica for finding time to visit Nigeria for the very first time since being the Coordinator of the MAS project and also acknowledging the tremendous roles she has being playing on behalf of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria in respect of the MAS project in country.

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Adeyanju who is the Vice President ITF Global, Executive Board Member ITF Global, and Chairman ITF Africa, said ”The MAS project has been described as very significant in the lives of the Nigerian Seafarers, which also stands to better the lots of the Union in terms of increase in membership; for a better negotiation on Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) with affiliate companies to the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria, which will bring about a minimum standard of remuneration across board for all Seafarers in Nigeria, that is the NJIC, where Seafarers salaries are paid in hard currency (Dollars).

” This project had also put the country’s Seafarers as the highest paid globally.The project is also making sure that Seafarers get their certificate of competence seamlessly from NIMASA amongst others.”



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