Segun Oladipupo |
The Nigerian Merchant Navy Officers and Water Transport Senior Staff Association (NMNOWTSSA) has called on the management of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to replace the Near Coastal Voyage (NCV) Certificate of Competency ( CoC) with Unlimited certificate for Masters and Chief Engineers.
The group added that the Unlimited certificate should be issued to deserving seafarers who have the requisite educational qualification and working experience to ply international waters .
The National President of the association, Comrade Bob Yousou who made the appeal during a courtesy visit to NIMASA in Lagos, called on the agency to sign bilateral agreement with more countries to create enabling environment for Nigeria COC to be accepted in other maritime nations.
He stressed the need for NIMASA to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with more Flag States or other maritime countries for recognition of Nigeria’s COC.
Yousou also requested the agency to compel shipping companies to sign the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), adding that by the virtue of signing the National Joint Industrial Council (NJIC) into law, Cap T14 section 5 subsection 3(a) 2004 and the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) 2006, recommends that all Nigerian seafarers are expected to be members of a Union .
His words, “The issue of Near Coastal Voyage (NCV) on Nigeria COC certificate has sent us far behind our counterpart from other maritime nations.
“We hereby appeal to NIMASA to either expunge NCV from the Certificate or issue unilimited Master and Chief Engineer for the deserving Nigerian seafarers who have the required educational, working experience and the necessary documents to play international waters by upgrading it through examination either by oral or written.
“In terms of academic qualifications and field experience, some younger officers have been holding OOW unlimited for over 10 years which resultant effects have not allowed them to go beyond second officer position onboard.
“Chief officer , Master, Chief and second engineer’s positions are reserved for foreign seafarers because they know Nigeria does not issue class 1 & 2 certificates,”he lamented.
He also frowned at manning agents ill-treatment on Nigerian seafarers with non payment of salary which he said was against the MLC 2006 agreement.
The union boss said,”Some manning agents employ desperate Nigerian seafarers without duly signing contract agreement papers and thereby owing them salaries up to 8 months or more.
“Some manning agents are instigating Nigerian seafarers (officers) against joining the Union. We totally condemn this act as it is against the MLC 2006. Some deduct check off dues without remittance to the Union.
The Union also asked for review of Cabotage catchment, saying it should be stricter with waiver even as it enjoined NIMASA to create an enforcement/monitoring team to tackle the issue of those working with just ordinary application for waiver and temporary work permit from immigration.
On his part, the Director General of NIMASA Dr. Bashir Jamoh who was represented at the meeting by Executive Director, Marine and Operations, Shehu Ahmed, while welcoming his guests, said the issues would be tabled before the management and necessary actions taken
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