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26 years after disengagement, NIMASA yet to pay retired NNSL retirees 

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Segun Oladipupo

Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) has called on the management of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to expedite action in the payment of the entitlements of the retired seafarers of the defunct Nigerian National Shipping Line (NNSL).

The President General of MWUN, Prince Adewale Adeyanju made the call on Wednesday at the Seamen, NIWA, Water Transport Delegate Conference held in Lagos.

The conference saw the emergence of Comrade Sunday Avoseh as the new President of branch in an unopposed election.

Avoseh is to steer the ship of the branch in the next four years, having taken over from Comrade Francis Abi Bunu who has since been made a Deputy President General of the union.

Speaking, Adeyanju lamented some of the anomalies of the regulatory agency.

Recall that the Nigerian National Shipping Line (NNSL) was founded in 1959 and became defunct in 1995 while some of the laid off workers are yet to be paid their entitlements.

His words, “No payment of pension to laid off seafarers of the defunct Shipping line. The matter is before the Honourable Minister of Transportation. We are talking of our retired seafarers.

“We want NIMASA to quickly look into it and see how you can expedite action on that so that the aged seafarers whatever that you need to pay them, quickly pay them.

Some other areas that the union called the attention of NIMASA include, high cost of acquiring medical certificates by seafarers, non-enforcement of Cabotage Act

“Regulatory agency is supposed to take care of the welfare of dock workers and seafarers. Management of Maritime Workers’ Union of Nigeria is imploring the management of NIMASA to quickly put all machineries in motion on the issue of high cost of acquiring medical certificates

“No enforcement of the Cabotage Act, lack of seafarers and dock workers pool, no issuance of SID to seafarers, lack of certified training institute of world standard for the seafarers

“You will see Nigerian seafarers travelling to Ghana to renew their certificates when we have reputable universities that are supposed to be certified. So, the revenue that are supposed to accrue to Nigeria are taken to Ghana and Egypt,” he submitted.

Earlier, the outgoing branch President, Bunu, had accused the agency of failure  to implement the Cabotage Act, saying the agency should live up to its responsibilities.

Bunu fumed at the scarcity and expensiveness of medical certificates for seafarers

Responding, the representative of NIMASA at the event, Irebore Raymond while acknowledging the complaints of the unionists, said the agency would look into all the issues and take necessary action.

He however denied that “I don’t think there is any foreign rating working in our waters

“I want to tell you that all that were read out as challenges, we see them as situation and we will look into them one after the other and tackle them.

“We want to assure us that all that are necessary would be done to represent us well.”

© 2021, maritimemag. All rights reserved.

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