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Merchant Navy seeks police support to flush out illegal officers from industry 

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Segun Oladipupo

Sequel to the recent arrest of over 100 fake personnel, the Nigeria Merchant Navy Officers and Water Transport Senior Staff Association has written a letter seeking collaboration with the Nigeria Police Force as part of efforts to rid the industry of dubious elements using the name of the association for illegalities.

The Trade Union Congress (TUC) affiliate organization also disclosed that moves are afoot to engage authorities of the force on how to eradicate the activities of the pseudo Merchant Navy outfit.

This has become necessary because of the outcry against the union as some people in some quarters called for its scrapping

According to a letter addressed to the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, a copy made available to newsmen, dated November 11, 2011, the union seeks synergize and collaboration with the police authorities for the benefit of information sharing and to explain what the union stands for.

The group maintained that the union is a body of professional seamen worldwide.

The statement, signed by the Secretary to the union, Comrade John Okpono Aleakhue, stressed the need for the police to understand activities of the seafaring union and to help rid the industry of illegal groups parading as Merchant Navy.

The Scribe further pointed out that leadership of the union seeks to have a meeting with the police high command in a bid  to jointly eradicate the miscreants .

He said” Be that as it may ,our concern is the generalization of the name “Merchant Navy”.An ordinary man on the street find it very difficult to differentiate between the genuine/legal Merchant Navy who are professional seafarers and the dubious groups  who are out to extort the unemployed youths in the name of a bill before the National  Assembly .

“It might interest you to know that we and other stakeholders in the Maritime sector have kicked against this bill (3)three years ago in the National Assembly .

“So generalization of the name” Merchant Navy” poses danger and inimical to our existence as your men /Officers will be intimidating our members (Officers )who are merchant Navy professional (seafarers) doing and going around their legitimate works.

“However, we want to clearly state that we don’t know this group and we have no relationship with them .

“We completely disassociate ourselves from the illegal body and promise to support the government in ensuring that our maritime industry is clean and clear of any dubious and illegal group who are using the name “Merchant Navy” to extort our teaming Nigerians .

“For the avoidance of doubt , Merchant Navy Officers are professional seafarers worldwide and there are required certification one must possess before he or she can be called a Merchant Navy Officers, namely SCTW’95 Mandatory courses certificates, Discharge booklet, Seafarers Medical certificate as approved  by NIMASA, Seafarers Identification Documents (SID) etc.

“You can only become a Merchant Navy Officers (Seafarers) if you have acquired the necessary maritime academic qualifications as required by the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

“It is very worrisome how these groups of unscrupulous, dubious fraudsters collecting money from innocent Nigerians all in the name of recruiting them into Merchant Navy.

“We as the only recognized Federal Government official gazetted body have written several letters against these illegal bodies more than a decade now and still writing all to no avail,”  Aleakhue explained.

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