By DAPO OLAWUNI
Frontline seafarer and marine engineer, Eng Emmanuel Imesiri has said that, as a result of his seafaring profession, even though he was married for fifteen years, he never spent more than four good years with his wife before she passed away.
The marine engineer stated this at a recent gathering of stakeholders and master mariners in Lagos.
He said the seafarers should be celebrated anywhere they are because without their sacrifice, the economy of nations cannot flourish.
Engineer Imesiri however lamented the way Nigerian seafarers are being treated poorly, he lamented that most vessel owners employ foreigners who are less qualified to the Nigerian crew, and they prefer to pay the foreigners higher wages.
He said that this aberration has been existing for years, and that the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) as well as other professionals need to address it quickly.
Speaking, he said, “We need to always appreciate the seaman, of all my 15 years of marriage, I only spent 4 good years with my wife before she died, and I never spent a whole year of 360 days with her, the seamen should be given a position of appreciation anywhere you see them”
“One thing about seafarers life is that we take many things for granted, we go through hell, we are told that, we are in-between the living and the dead.
80 percent of what we use come through sea, without the seafarers the economy cannot move”
“Our trainings should also be taken very seriously”
“I go onboard some vessels as a surveyor and I see that most of the senior officers onboard are not even Nigerians, they are foreigners, and their competent level is even doubtful, they are working with Nigerians, the Nigerians are doing the job, but the foreigners are taking the money”
“What are our senior personnel doing “about it, what are the NIMASA doing?
For example, a shipowner would be paying a Chinese man 1,000 dollars, and the Nigerian man who is more intelligent than him is given 200 dollars, and if he makes any noise about it, they send him away” he lamented.