Sunday, July 3, 2022

Workers’ Day: Nigerian seafarers bemoan slavelike treatment

He decried late payments of salaries to Nigerian seafarers despite prompt payment to their foreign counterparts in Nigeria’s territorial waters.

• May 1, 2022
Seafarers [Photo Credit: The Guardian]
Seafarers [Photo Credit: The Guardian]

Bob Yousou, the national president of the Nigerian Merchant Navy Officers and Water Transport Senior Staff Association has described the treatment of seafarers by their employers, ship owners and manning agents as slavery arrangement.

MrYousou, made this known in his Workers’ Day celebration speech, made available to reporters on Sunday in Lagos.

He decried late payments of salaries to Nigerian seafarers despite prompt payment to their foreign counterparts in Nigeria’s territorial waters.

“The average Nigerian worker’s standard of living is poor and the non-existence of Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) for seafarers in most of the shipping companies is discouraging.

“As part of efforts at reducing foreign dominance in the nation’s maritime sector, the Federal Government should promote local content and the Cabotage Act,” he said.

He charged the government to checkmate the influx of foreign seafarers into the maritime space of the country, adding that lack of enforcement of the Cabotage Act had led to unemployment among Nigerian seafarers.

The national president, however, promised that the union would continue to support the policies of the government for efficiency in the sector.

While congratulating seafarers on the occasion of Workers Day, Mr Yousou appealed to them that there was still hope for development of the country, irrespective of the present state of insecurity.

His words, “We must be united to fight our common enemies, the slave master of our time.

“We, as an International Transport Workers’ Federation ( ITF) affiliate, will use this opportunity to request that the Federal Government of Nigeria considers floating a national carrier.

“With a national carrier, cadets can have sea time training, carry Nigeria cargoes, thereby reducing capital freight, reduce unemployment, as well as the pride of the nation, as the maritime hub in West Africa.”


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