Seafarers ‘contribute so much’
Abandoned seafarers often feel intimated and afraid to reveal the true situation, says Amos Hosea, chief maritime labour officer at the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency.
As national secretary of the National Seafarers Welfare Board of Nigeria, he has dealt with a significant number of abandoned ships, in Lagos and the other Nigerian ports.
Recent cases have included one where the seafarers, from Vietnam and Myanmar, had not been paid for more than a year and were, at the time of writing, relying on food and water supplies from the welfare board, ITF and other organisations.
In another, at Port Harcourt, the owner disappeared and the port authority needed the berth – so the ship was moved to midstream within the port area.
“I think there is a need for much more awareness of this situation, of the seafarers’ needs and how this directly or indirectly will affect the working of vessels within the port,” says Mr Hosea. “Port authorities and other authorities should take more action. Definitely the welfare of the seafarer should be fundamental to port authorities, terminal operators, maritime administrations and all policymakers.
“Seafarers contribute so much but their welfare is not taken seriously. They are a group of human beings that need special care and special attention if they are to achieve what is expected of them.”
The maritime administration is working hard to ensure that International Labour Organization's Maritime Labour Convention is ratified by Nigeria, he adds. “This will comprehensively address issues relating to seafarers.”
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