…Urges Jamoh to Establish Medical Centre for Seafarers Certification
By DAPO OLAWUNI
Nigerian seafarers under the aegis of Merchant Seafarers Association of Nigeria (MESAN) has urged the Director General to the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Dr. Bashir Jamoh to address challenges surrounding issuance of discharge book to seafarers, saying that the process is fraudulent.
The association equally called on NIMASA to establish a medical centre for seafarers certification where health status of the seafarers can be determined before they go onboard ships.
Secretary of the group, Capt Alfred Oniye in an exclusive chat with DAILY TREND NEWS at the weekend lamented that Nigerian seafarers are not being given proper attention when it comes to their safety onboard. He added that currently, due to the COVID-19, many of them are stuck onboard and cannot disembark because there is no crew change.
Oniye alleged that seafarers are supposed to get the discharge book for not more than N5,000, but that due to corruption by some NIMASA staff, they are made to pay N30,000. He added that at every time a seafarer needs to stamp the booklet, he is made to pay money.
Speaking, he said “NIMASA discharge book is fraudulent, seafarers are not enjoying NIMASA as a regulatory agency, the discharge book is supposed to be N5,000, the bulk of the money being made by NIMASA is generated by seafarers, but they cannot give back to them”
“We see the way NIMASA donate money outside but they cannot do anything for the seafarers, what would stop NIMASA from establishing a medical centre for seafarers certification where they can pay N5,000 instead of telling them to go and do it outside where they pay N25,000”
“The doctors out there would lie to the seafarers, even the seafarers that is not medically fit, even for those that are medically fit, they had to bribe the doctors before they could be given the certificate. So, what stops NIMASA from establishing a medical centre”
“From our findings, some of these hospitals are giving NIMASA some percentage”
“As for the discharge book, sometimes the seafarers pay between N20,000 to N30,000, but it shouldn’t be more than N5,000, it is the right of every seafarer, when you want to go and stamp the discharge book, they still collect money, for you to get the discharge booklet you will pass through your nose”
“Some of the NIMASA staff would tell you that the booklet is not available even when it is available ” he said
Capt Oniye said that NIMASA is focusing its attention more on the foreign seafarers than the indigenous ones, he added that these were part of the reasons why the former DG, Dakuku Peterside was removed from office.
“Jamoh is an in house person and he knows the industry very well, if he wants to perform in office, he knows what to do, he is not an operational person, but he is an in-house person that knows the agency very well and the problems on ground”
“The reason why Dakuku was removed was because he refused to attend to the problems on ground”
“Jamoh knows that we have an insecurity problem that we must put an end to, he knows that over 70% of seafarers are not employed, he knows that the Cabotage law must be enforced, he knows all these, except he does not want to work”
“He has been there as Executive Director finance and admin, so he knows how the funds were mismanaged, he knows what to do”
“We are ready to work with him if he is not going to compromise, one thing that Merchant Seafarers Association of Nigeria would not do is to work with any agency that would not serve the interest of seafarers” he said