The National Seafarers Welfare Board of Nigeria (NSWBN) has exonerated the management of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) from the present plight of seafarers in the country.
The position of the NSWB is coming on the heels of the recent detention of some seafarers in the country.
The Chairman of NSWBN, Otunba Kunle Folarin who stated this in Lagos when he led a delegation of board members on a courtesy visit to NIMASA headquarters maintained that the agency was not responsible for the detained seafarers.
He argued that the agency has been of immense support and assistance in ensuring that seafarers in the country have a better living condition in line with international best practices.
He explained that he thought it necessary to clear the air and exonerate NIMASA from the news making the rounds about the agency abandoning seafarers.
According to him, the reverse is the case as the agency has always ameliorated their plights.
His words: “For the records, NIMASA has no obligation for detained seafarers; rather they have been assisting us, especially in the area of their welfare”.
He commended the agency for taking the centre stage in the Nigerian maritime sector by ensuring that Nigeria takes its rightful place in the comity of maritime nations.
He also called on other stakeholders in the sector and Nigerians as a whole to support the quest of President Muhammadu Buhari to bring about a change to the sector, adding that it will in-turn affect the growth and development of the Nigerian economy.
Folarin who is also the Chairman of the Ports Consultative Council (PCC) also used the opportunity to call for more support from the agency regarding the activities and well-being of the seafarers and pledged the unflinching support of the board to the agency in order to ensure its mandate was fully realized.
NIMASA Head, Corporate Communications, Mr. Isichei Osamgbi in a statement made available to Maritime Bits quoted the Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside stated in his response that the importance of seaborne trade cannot be overemphasized as over 90 per cent of goods are transported through the sea.
Represented by the Executive Director, Maritime Labour and Cabotage Services, NIMASA, Mr. Gambo Ahmed, the NIMASA helmsman argued that that there would be no shipping activity without the seafarers just as he described them as the bedrock to realizing a robust maritime sector.
His words: “For us in NIMASA, we are determined to ensure a better living condition for our seafarers as they are critical to the actualizing of our mandates. The welfare of the seafarer determines a lot about the growth of any economy and on our part as an Agency, we will continue to ensure their well-being is topmost on priority”.
He further assured the delegation that the agency would continue to partner with them, noting that the overall goal is to realize a robust a virile economy.
The statement added that the Dakuku’s led management has continued to embrace collaboration as a means to achieving its mandates.
According to it, NIMASA is the government agency whose responsibility as enshrined in its enabling act, cuts across maritime labour activities, which directly concerns the well-being of the seafarers amongst other responsibilities.