For allegedly not getting their crew from the seafarers’ pool operated by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), the agency has imposed fines ranging from =N=5Million to =N=-10Million on some indigenous ship owners.
Although details of the latest face-off were sketchy as at press time, it was however learnt that many indigenous shipping companies have received such letters which one of them regarded as insulting.
Shipping Position Weekly confirmed that prior to the issuance of the letter; NIMASA had cautioned the ship owners against crewing from unauthorized places; an act which the agency declares as illegal and unacceptable.
The warning letter, our correspondent was told did not help matters as the indigenous ship owners under the aegis of Indigenous Ship owners Association of Nigeria (ISAN) reportedly expressed shock at the development.
The NIMASA has a seafarers’ pool in all port cities from where ship owners are expected to draw their crew. The Agency has also fixed wages commensurate with what obtains in the international market, but ISAN members are opposed to fixing wages.
But, last week in Lagos, a member of ISAN who has received the letter and who was asked to pay about =N=10Million told our reporter that it was wrong on the part of NIMASA to compel ship owners to crew from its pool and also determine how much the crew would earn.
According to him, the issue of compulsory crewing and wages predate the creation of NIMASA. He recalled that the idea was first muted when there was the Joint Maritime Labour Industrial Council (JOMALIC).
“We told JOMALIC at that time that it was unacceptable and wrong to force ship owners to crew from the pool and also force wages down our throat”, he re recalled and stated that ISAN would collectively fight it.