The Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) has called on the Federal Government to resuscitate the liquidated Nigerian National Shipping Line (NNSL). According to the union, doing so will stimulate the employment of several seafarers.
It also lamented that seafarers who were laid-off in 1995 when the NNSL was liquidated are not being paid their pensions.
The union, in a communiqué issued at the end of its National Executive Council (NEC) meeting which held in Lagos, specifically urged government to direct the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to commence payment of monthly pension to the affected seafarers who were mainly ratings, and who were disengaged in 1995 as a result of the liquidation of the Nigeria National Shipping Line.
The MWUN also called on Government to stop what it called “the emerging illegal operation of Ship-to-Ship discharge in our off-shore waters”.
It acknowledged that such operations deprive the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and Federal Government their due revenue.
The union also called on the NPA to ensure “the stoppage of this illegal operation by invoicing to Nigerian Ports Authority all off-shore Tropical West Africa (TWA) vessels calling at our Ports”.
It, however, lamented that lack of stevedores and dockworkers at the more than 150 private jetties scattered all over the country is both a security risk and an economic loss.
The MWUN consequently called of the Federal Government “to allow the Federal Ministry of Transportation (FMOT) through the Nigerian Ports Authority to appoint Stevedore/Dockworkers to man the over 150 private jetties and oil platforms that dot our coastal landscape as doing otherwise creates free avenue for such operators to import arms and ammunition into the country ahead the 2019 general elections”.
Also speaking in line with the communiqué, the President-General of MWUN; Comrade Adewale Adeyanju, decried the state of the roads leading into the ports, noting that the poor state of the roads was hampering activities at the ports, forcing businesses to close shops with the resultant loss of jobs.
Adeyanju said that workers were being sacked daily by shipping companies and that stevedoring contractors were also being disengaged.
He lamented that: “About 2,000 to 3,000 tally clerks and onboard security personnel, who are an integral part of dock labour operations have been sacked.
“This is because the services of their employers have been terminated by the Nigerian Ports Authority.’’
The unionist recalled that in 2017, the Federal Government signed a communiqué with stakeholders after a 21-day ultimatum and a day warning strike by MWUN to repair the roads before the last quarter of 2018.
“The Ijora/Apapa Wharf highway has been partially fixed but the Tin-Can Island area remains unattended to. This is not acceptable.
“The NEC of the union will take a decision on the next line of action after its meeting,’’ Adeyanju said.