The Federal Government has started the implementation of the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) 2006.
The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) dropped the hint in a forum in Lagos also expressed its determination to ensure that Nigerian seafarers get placement on both Nigerian and foreign flagged vessels.
At the forum which has ship owners and seafarers in attendance, NIMASA Director General, Mr. Patrick Ziakede Akpobolokemi said the agency has also committed huge resources towards the training of cadets through various programmes including the Nigerian Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP).
His words: “We have also recently facilitated the training of over 700 seafarers on the Standard of Training Certification and Watch keeping (STCW) to enable them update their mandatory certification. It is through the support of ILO that 25 NIMASA Labour Inspectors were trained. We will also benefit through technical co-operation with other ILO member states”.
According to him, the forum was part of the process to actualise the plans to create condusive working condition for seafarers and for them to know their rights and obligations.
He said that NIMASA has facilitated the training of over 700 seafarers on the Standard of Training Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW) to enable them update their mandatory certfication.
He urged stakeholders in the industry to facilitate the achievement of the MLC objective so that Nigerian Searfarers could be placed on Nigerian and foreign flagged vessels.
THISDAY had reported that Nigeria instrument of ratification for MLC 2006 was presented by the leader of the delegation and Minister of Labour and Productivity, Mr. Emeka Wogu at the International Labour Organisation (ILO) headquarters, Geneva, Switzerland during its 102 session of the International Labour Conference.
Disclosing that Nigeria is the fifth state from Africa to have ratified this convention, the NIMASA helmsman who was represented at the occasion by NIMASA Executive Director, Finance and Administration, Mr. Haruna Joro, said: “This landmark achievement by our great country and indeed the agency through this current management has received wide commendation for keeping faith with process that was started about eight years ago.”
He described the ratification of MLC 2006 was an evidence of Nigeria's commitment for her seafarers' to get an improve welfare and better working condition.
Akpobolokemi explained that the ratification of MLC 2006 is a demonstration of Nigerians commitment towards ensuring seafarers rights as it concerns their living and working conditions in a decent environment.
“MLC 2006 is dubbed the bill of rights for seafarers. It is an updated convention which creates a single instrument encompassing of over 68 existing conventions and recommendations on seafarers”, he added.
One of its main objectives is to achieve effective implementation at both flag state and port state control levels.
According to him, the initiative of ratifying the convention presents benefits to Nigeria in the areas of technical cooperation with other ILO member states which has resulted in the training of 25 NIMASA labour inspectors.
The convention is also referred to as the forth pillar of International Maritime Standards after IMO Conventions, MARPOL73/78 ANNEX 1/11, SOLAS 1978 and STCW 78 as amended , all of which Nigeria has ratified.
Director, Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity, Mrs. Teresa Braima in her remarks at the forum which attracted several stakeholders, said that when the convention has been ratified it becomes binding.
''There are things we will not benefit from if we do not implement our convention. The ILO will monitor us to ensure we are doing the right thing", she said.
She said that the various employers and workers organisation was responsible in implementing the laws and NIMASA.
Mrs. Braima who is also representing the ministry in NIMASA Board of Directors said the agency should ensure that information by employers and workers organisations are correct so that the image of the country would be protected.
NIMASA Director, Maritime Labour Services Department, Mrs. Juliana Gunwa in her presentation said although the convention does not directly bind ship owners, government, through national legislation, marine notices and other measures are bound to regulate ship owners who must ensure that fundamental rights of seafarers are upheld on board or ashore.
She enjoined ship owners to ensure that each seafarer on board has a comprehensive, well understood written contract of employment which includes detailed terms and conditions, provisions for reparation and distress of seafarers and social security benefits.