The Nigeria Merchant Navy Officers and Water Transport Senior Staff Association has called on the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to wade into recent moves by the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) to impose Offshore Safety Permit OSP on Nigerian seafarers.
National President of then association, Comrade Bob Yousou and the Secretary General Comrade John Okpono respectively.
In the letter that was dated February 22nd 2021,a copy sighted by our correspondent, the association maintained that Nigerian seafarers working on the Oil and Gas Offshore vessels are being exploited by some of their employers who are compelling them to foot the cost of the contentious Offshore Safety Permit (OSP).
The association noted that the OSP was part of DPR guidelines and is required by International Oil Companies (IOCs), adding that NIMASA should engage the oil and gas regulatory agency on how it negates international conventions.
The statement title Imposition Of Offshore Safety Permit (OSP) On Nigerian Seafarers was addressed to the Director General, NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh , Executive Director, Maritime Labour & Cabotage NIMASA and the Director, Maritime Labour Services (MLS), NIMASA.
The letter reads in part: "Our attention has been drawn to the above subject. Sir, it might interest you to know that Nigerian seafarers working on the Oil and Gas Offshore vessels are being exploited by some of their employers by compelling them to foot the cost or Offshore Safety Permit (OSP).
"It is a known fact that seafarers are guided by IMO Conventions and guidelines from your agency, NIMASA as the Nigeria apex body regulating the seafaring activities”
"It is also worthy to note that Nigerian Seafarers undergo STCW 95 courses among which is personal safety and social responsibility, so it becomes very worrisome that a seafarer is to pay for Offshore Safety Permit and in the same vein pay to obtain personal safety and social responsibility as enshrined in STCW 95”
"Sir, be informed that this OSP is part of DPR guidelines and is required by 10Cs.
"The cost of it has always been borne by the individual companies, but presently,
some of the Oil and Gas Offshore employers have started reneging taking responsibility of paying for the OSP,then transferring it to seafarers.
"In view of the above and knowing that your agency is the Nigeria maritime regulatory body, we urge you to verify this claim and put a stop to it”
"Seafarers cannot pay tor the cost of STCW '95 courses among which is safety and besides be made to pay for another offshore safety permit . The time has come for Nigerian seafarers not to be exploited or enslaved by any employer”
"They must possess their rights and professionalism must be upheld”.