By DAPO OLAWUNI
The Management of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has threatened to close down any jetty or terminal who refuses to allow Nigerian dockworkers and stevedoring firms to work at their facility.
DAILY TREND NEWS recalls that the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) has raised several alarms in past that private jeties, tank farms and terminals were operating without the presence of dockworkers or stevedores.
Comrade Adewale Adeyanju who is now the President General of MWUN had raised the alarm severally when he was President of Dockworkers Branch President of the union.
Adeyanju warned that this practice potends great security risk to Nigeria as these jetties could be used to handle arms, ammunition and other dangerous cargoes without knowledge of the federal government.
The President of Nigerian Association of Stevedoring Companies, Mr Bolaji Sunmola has equally kicked against the practice.
But in a recent Marine Notice issued by NIMASA, the agency has directed all duly registered stevedoring companies with operational areas allotted by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), which are yet to start operation, to mobilise to their work locations.
The directive, contained in a marine notice issued by NIMASA, said the affected companies should report any encumbrances to the Agency. This is in line with the Stevedoring Regulation, 2014, gazetted by the Federal Government of Nigeria, developed pursuant to the NIMASA Act, 2007.
The Agency equally notified all operators of ports, jetties, onshore or offshore oil and gas or bonded terminals, Inland Container Depots (ICDs), offshore dock terminals, dry ports and platforms, and other work locations to grant duly appointed stevedoring companies access to their premises for commencement of operations. It said only corporate bodies duly registered in Nigeria would be allowed to employ dock labour or engage in stevedoring work on board or from ships. Such corporate entities must have satisfied the requirements for registration specified in the Stevedoring Regulation, 2014, and obtained a Stevedoring license from NIMASA.
“Every dock labour employer or stevedoring company shall provide proper and safe working conditions for the convenience and proper working of its employees and ensure that all stevedoring plants and equipment supplied and being used in their operations are safe and in good condition,” the Agency stated.
Employers of dock labour or stevedoring companies are mandated to provide adequate insurance cover for health, personal injury, loss of earnings, and compensation, relating to any incident affecting dockworkers or stevedores in the course of the work of the dock labour employer or the stevedoring company.
Director-General of NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, warned that the consequences for non-compliance with the guidelines set out in the Stevedoring Regulation, 2014, shall be enforced, in addition to other penalties, such as detention of vessels, sealing of operational area or work location, and prosecution.