The Chairman, Mission To Seafarers Lagos (MTSL), Chief Adebayo Sarumi, has said the ‘mission’ will work towards improving the seafarers’ welfare institutions in Nigeria to meet up with international best practices.
Sarumi made the disclosure during a briefing to celebrate the organisation week in Lagos on Monday.
He said that over 3, 000 ships berth on Lagos yearly with 80 per cent being foreign flagged while the sea was conduit with over 85 per cent of the goods and services you see around.
"The delivery of these goods by sea is often taken for granted because of the consistent flow of trade. Even during pandemic period of Covid-19, maritime trade remains an essential service and Seafarers" essential workers.
"The sad irony is that while most pay attention to the cargo, few ever ask, who delivers them?.
"The Seafarers are the ones carrying the most important and precious cargo of all while the men and the women that work assiduously to sustain our precious maritime trade are the invisible hands that propel nations to sustenance, survival and the superlative.
"They are also the most overlooked aspect of the value chain; their welfare often trivialised.
"Seafarers welfare is a hydra-headed challenge. It has institutional, political, cultural and social nuances, to name but few and the responses to the narrative are diverse.
"At this point and on behalf of the committee, I must acknowledge the various organizations, institutions and administrations that have continually taken on the plight of the Seafarers while ours in MTSL, is simply to ensure the ball does not drop,"Sarumi said.
He said the Mission in Lagos was an international, humanitarian and Non-Governmental secular organization dedicated to the welfare of Seafarers regardless of sex, creed, belief, race or political dispensation.
The Mission Chairman, said that the mission was one of over 260 Mission to Seafarers (MTS) stations operational across the globe, with its global mantra of "caring for Seafarers around the world.
He said that the MTSL had been in existence for over 60 years adding that was part of global organisation which had been in existence for over 150 years while a new management committee was inaugurated and charged to chart a new rejuvenated course for the Mission.
Sarumi said that MTSL had an advantage of being the first seafarers’ welfare institution in the country, adding that in spite the fact that time changes that they had developed a pedigree of sort and they intended to leverage on it.
He said that then formidable mien of the present committee would be brought to the fore in forging even stronger ties within the country and international allies.
"In a very short period, we have developed a Strategic Plan Designed to achieve a myriad of objectives. These include elevating Public Seafarers Awareness with technology assisting greatly in pushing an online presence even as we seek to develop social media outlets.
"This briefing initiatives our," Mission Week. "Until the COVID outbreak, it was intended to be a week-long series of events to further ender our various stakeholders to the seafarers’ community.
" On Thursday July 9, a high end advocacy will be at play as we shall be hosting a global virtual Seafarers seminar (Webinar) with the Themed, " Seafarers Welfare: Are We Missing The Boat? ",.
" We hope to visit some maritime institutions and intimate them of our vision while we hope to cap the Mission week on Sunday 12 July 2020 with a Thanksgiving Service, which will also be broadcast online,"Sarumi said.
He said that MTSL was one of the few Welfare bodies with a physical location specifically dedicated to Seafarer's welfare and interaction which was embodied in the Seafarers Centre located at 29 Marine Road, GRA, Apapa.
Sarumi who was also the former Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), said that the Mission strategy was to upgrade and upscale the center's facilities to some modicum of acceptable standards.
He urged and seek collaboration with both National and International progenitors as well as maritime industry friends and allies in putting up a world class MTS facility in Seafarers Centre in Apapa.
Sarumi, however, commended the support and prayer given to them by Diocesan, the Bishop of Lagos, the right Reverend Dr Humphrey Olumakaiye as well as other stakeholders in the maritime industry.
While taking members, special guests and media around the Seafarers center at GRA in Apapa, the Treasurer to the Mission Mr Igho Dafinone, listed the facilities to be put in place such as swimming pool, library, canteen, bar, guest house and so on.
Dafinone said that the Mission was looking forward to an expert who would designed the Centre to international standards and the mission would be paying him as soon as they get support from stakeholders.
Also speaking, Capt. Marvin Abe, the Managing Director, Apapa Bulk Terminal, said that everyone was Seafarers adding that Convid 19 had thought the world lesson and expressed importance of Ports in the country.
He said that if Port was shot down during the lockdown that it would affect the economy of all nations adding that in spite the lockdown that the Seafarers were busy working without having access to their relations.
In his good will message, Capt Tajudeen Alo, commended the efforts of MTSL since inception and promised the Master Mariners support to the Mission.