NIMASA: Jamoh Gives His Words That Seafarers Era Of Worry Over Poor Welfare Has Come To An End

  • Red-flag 13  Vessels  Coming From Five  High Risk VID 19, Countries Into Nigerian Ports

By Stephen Ubanna

Past Administartion of the Nigerian Maritime Adminisration and Safety  Agency, NIMASA, had promised to improve the monthly salary  structure of the country seafarers but that as how far they  could go. Bashir Jamoh, Director General, of the Maritime Regulatory agency may have witnessed the challenges of the Seafarers over the years that he was determined to put back smiles on their face. The opportunity came with his appointment as the Director General of the agency last March by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Jamoh, the NIMASA, Director General, who had been described  by the Staff as ‘a man of his words’ may have put smiles on the faces of the Seafarers when he said ‘there are policies in the pipeline to improve the quality of training, Certification  and remuneration of the country’s Seafarers. Jamoh was said to have broken the news to the Seafarers on Thursday, June 24, 2020,, during a webinar hosted by the agency to mark the Seafarers day in Lagos.

The NIMASA Director General may have taken the case of the Seafarers serious because the International Maritime Organisation, IMO, had designated them Seafarers and Dockworkers as essential workers who should be exempted  from travel restrictions. A Statement by Philip Kyanet, an Assistant Director and the agency Head of Corporate Communications disclosed that the Seafarers Day  was liaised with local and international Participation. Kaynet disclosed that  the keynote address was delivered by Karen ogidigben, a Consultant, with  at Transbasin Limited, Dubai, United Arabs Emirates, popular, UAE.

Esah Aniefiok Etim,  at the Internatinal Labour Organisation, ILO, a Nigerian Labour Attaché was  said to have present a thought provoking paper ‘calling for  better welfare and support for the country Seafarers. Etim’s  world-class paper may have informed  why Jamoh, the NMASA , boss had declared at the Seafarers Day that the agency  has already started taking steps  ‘’to standardize the Curriculum  of the country Training Institutions in line with the International standards. He was said to have caped his speech by announcing that the agency  are also working round the clock ‘on increasing the remuneration of the Seafarer

He disclosed that he policies would be made public  ‘as soon as the agency complete the work on the policy document and  get the necessary ministerial approval.  He may have emboldened the  Seafarers when  when he described them as a very ‘courageous  set of Maritime workers  the world –over, noting that theme of this year’s Seafarers Day , Seafarers  are  key maritime  workers is a Statement to the fact  that world maritime sector sector cannot do  with the Seafarers. ‘Seafarers hold the key to  humanity’s  survival  on a day –to-day  basis’, he had said.

According to him,they hold the key to era of the Wuhan Ton in Hebei Province of the Asian country of China emerged coronavirus, popular, COVID 19. Jamoh, who could not hide his feelings praised the Seafarers for sustaining the global supply chain, distributing urgently needed medical supplies at the risks of their lives.

The pandemic, may have encouraged the participants at the Seafarers Day to also talk in ‘lockstep with the  Kicklack Lim, led IMO, which was said to helped in tailoring  all marine notices at the emergence of the disease , towards supporting  the extension of the validity of Seafarers Certificates, Crew change, guideline, procedure and their designation as essential maritime workers by the MO. He alluded to the fact  that a good sailor   could  weather the storm he could not avoid, describing  the COVID 19  as a storm  the Seafarers couldn’t avoid.

Given an insider information, he disclosed that as tested seamen and women, the country’s Seafarers have continued to weather the storm for Nigerians. This may  have  informed why he had said, ‘ we celebrate you today. Nigerian Thanks you, the world appreciates, you, noting that NIMASA, under his close watch would never abandon you. ‘We will support you all the way’, he declared.

But Karen, who is a, Maritime sector Consultant at  Transbasin Lmited, Dubai,, UAE,  believe that the job of taking  care of the welfare of the Seafarers should not be left to NIMASA, alone, insisting that the International Community has a role to play to improve the welfare of the  sailors. Appealing to the international Community to render necessary assistance to Seafarers, particular, this period of COVID 19, era, noting that it is the only way to help them grow on the job.  She commended the Jamoh led NIMASA, over its support to the Seafarers and emphasized the need  for the country  ‘to develop  post- pandemic   measures  that could make the country’s Seafarers internationally marketable and Competitive.

The UAE, Dubai, Consultant Collaborated Jamoh’s claim  that Seafarers are part of global supply chain  and therefore, should have access  to Shore Leave at the country’s seaports in accordance  with global regulations. Karen pointed that there is also a need for NIMASA, to ‘look at the improved ways of mitigating the challenges that the COVID 19, had brought to the world.  He cited the digitalization  of the Seafarers processes  , including  local training and  licensing of the country’s Seafarers.

Given  the NIMASA’s current  Management  policy of adequately policing the nation’s ports to ensure that no suspected COVID 19 vessel from the high risk COVID 19, countries, sail into the nation’s seaports , it has kept to the promise.  

Acting on the report from the agency :Command,Control, Communication, Computer and Intelligence system, popular,C4i, under the Deep Blue Project, that 13 ocean going vessels from five notable coronavirus afflicted  countries are coming to berth in the Lagos ports of Apapa, south east  port of  PortHarcourt Area 1, Onne,  and Bonny Island, Offshore Oil terminal both in the oil-rich Rivers state, the agency was forced to re-fag the vessels in other to keep the port workers on the alert.  Going by the C4i report, the vessels, had been scheduled to be in the Nigerian ports between June 23, 2020 and July 17,2020.

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Kyanet, the  agency spokesperson,  may have gladdened the heart of port workers, particular, the Seafarers and Dockworkers,  when he issued a Statement containing the list of the 13 suspected COVID 19  vessels sailing Nigerian ports and Bonnny Island, in oil-rich Rivers state.

 Maritime watchers believe that Jamoh, the NIMASA, Director General may have been encouraged to open up on the suspected vessels in order  to protect the interest of port workers, particular, the Seafarers and the Dockworkers being  the first set of people that usually  have contact with foreign vessels coming into the nation’s ports or Offshore terminals  to lift oil and gas. The NIMASA Director General would want the port workers to adhere strictly to  Social Distancing  rules  and other guidelines put in place by the NCDC  and the Presidential Team on COVID 19 ,to curb the spread of the disease in the country.

 Insiders tnformed The Magazine that since the information broke out  that Bonny Ray and  Nord Supreme vessels from the United Kingdom, UK, described as a high risk COVID 19, country, Gaslog Warsaw, Shaghai Eagle, Kathrina Theresa and  Harmonic, from Spainish ports including  Desert Hope from the North American country of Brazil, the agency Surveillance Team  officers have stepped up their operations at the ports.

Other  suspected COVID 19 vessels from the five high –risk  COVID 19  countries included Stena Clear and Bonny II, from the Asian country of India. This is in addition to the North American country, of the United States vessels :Musky, VectisOsprey and Grande Island.

Mrs: Olufumilayo Olotu: Port Manager, LPC, Apapa

Aware that NIMASA officials  may  not  be  able to be everywhere to know  movement of vessels to the country’s ports, may have informed why Jamoh had pleaded for the support and cooperation of other agencies, particular,  the Hajia Hadiza Bala Usman led NPA.  ‘We are counting on the continued Cooperation and support of the frontline agencies and private sector operators to jointly wage the war against COID 19’, Jamoh had said. He disclosed that the Maritime Regulatory agency had given ‘an advisory through marine notice on the operational procedures for the ingress and egress of vessels arriving from such COVID 19, infested countries into

The NIMASA boss, however, would want officials of other agencies to report any situation or circumstance that might compromise handling  the arrival and discharge of  these  suspected COVID vessels from these foreign countries and  others that might fall into the same trap in the future.

Maritime watcher  believe that by NIMASA , coopting the frontline agencies in the war  against COVID 19, at the ports , it will be easy to track the vessels on arrival.Many believe that even the  suspected COVID 19, vessels, could be allowed  by their various  Managements in these five Asian European and North American countries, the vessels may not get to Nigerian ports.  

Recall that Fumilayo Olotu, the Lagos port Manager, at a  recent  Workshop, to sensitise industry stakeholders on how to stop the spread of the disease  had said that African countries  had developed a structure in Mauritius, Muritania,  to ensure that all vessels coming into the African  Continent were properly scrutinized. Olotu had had said that one of the mandate of the Team, was to turn back any suspected COVID 19 vessel from getting to their country destination.

This may have given  industry stakeholders the impression that the 13  suspected COVID 19 vessels from the five identified countries may not get into the Nigerian waters, let alone going to their ports of destination to berth and  discharge their cargoes.  

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