…Dispels Report of Seafarers Revolution
By DAPO OLAWUNI
The Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) has appealed for calm among members of its seafarers branch, saying that the challenges of crew change is already being addressed by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) as well as the various companies.
This appeal is coming on the heels of reported revolution onboard vessels by seafarers who are desperate to go home to their families after several months onboard.
In the face of the Coronavirus pandemic, crew change for seafarers have been greatly affected, with federal governments urging seamen to remain onboard. According to the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) over 150,000 seafarers are trapped onboard globally and would be needing crew change in May 2020 alone.
Speaking exclusively with DAILY TREND NEWS, President General of Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) Comrade Adewale Adeyanju debunked reports that seafarers were stabbing themselves onboard vessels due to fatigue. He said the Deputy President General of the union, Comrade Douglas Eromoboh who issued the statement on Tuesday was not properly briefed.
Comrade Adeyanju said the union has written to the Presidency, NIMASA, Ministry of Transportation and Ministry of Labour over the issue of crew change for seafarers and that no union leader would allow its members to suffer onboard a vessel for so long.
The union expressed worry about the delay in crew change due to the COVID-19, but expressed assurances that NIMASA was addressing the situation with its recent Marine Notice to all companies.
“We were given a wrong information through the DPG, no seafarers fought themselves or stab themselves onboard the vessel, nobody died, it’s just unfortunate that the information was coming at all” Adeyanju stated.
Also speaking with our correspondent, President of Seafarers Branch of MWUN, Comrade Francis Bunu said that NIMASA had issued a fresh guideline to all shipping and oil companies on crew Change and that this is already being complied with.
He said most companies now quarantine their seafarers at hotels, afterwhich they get clearance from the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 before transporting the seafarers back onboard the vessels.
Speaking he said “What companies are now doing after the Marine Notice from NIMASA is that, they prepare their Crew Change List and get a clearance from COVID-19 Task Force in order to ensure they are adequately quarantined, lodged in an hotel”
“NIMASA have equally released numbers that any company that wants to do crew change should call their port health officials”
“Already, companies have started implementing this procedure.
NLNG have moved their workers to Bonny Island for quarantine in a very big space”
On the remuneration and allowances for seafarers, Comrade Bunu said that
“As of today, all companies with MWUN are giving their seafarers palliatives and incentives, some are giving N40,000 in addition to the salary across board”
“Even those that are ashore, we still ensured that they have their time-off pay”
Bunu urged the seafarers to abide by the government directive within this period of the COVID-19 and the corresponding lockdown in different states.
“My encouragement to the seafarers is that they should be law abiding because they are more safer than even we that are ashore. The crew change challenges is not peculiar to Nigeria alone, it is global “
“Let them give the various companies time to rearrange their crew Change list in line with the COVID-19 policy, and everything would fall in place”
“The union is ontop of the situation, monitoring implementation of the crew change time table” he assured
Meanwhile, the MWUN PG, Comrade Adewale Adeyanju observed that while most companies were giving N40,000 palliative to seafarers, others are planning to retrench staff.
He urged such companies to take a cue from those that are performing well because the union according to him would not tolerate I’ll treatment of its members.
“Let there be incentives for seafarers, some are paying N40,000 extra while others are not paying, they are even planning to reduce the workforce but we would not allow that, we employ other companies to emulate those already doing it” he said