…Laments Shortfall in Number of Nigerian Seafarers Globally
By DAPO OLAWUNI
The International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) has announced that it is working on creating employment for Nigerian seafarers on foreign going vessels and to take them beyond working for Cabotage vessels alone.
To achieve this, the ITF has commenced what it called Maritime Affiliate Support, MAS Project for Nigerian seafarers. Through this project, ITF would be training Nigerian seafarers as well as expanding ITF maritime agreement in Nigeria.
Speaking at the National Executive Council meeting of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) in Lagos on Friday, the African Regional Secretary of ITF, Muhammed Dauda Safiyanu said the MAS Project which is the first of its kind in the world, is starting with Nigeria.
The project is to run in Nigeria for 15 months.
Speaking, Safiyanu said “The project is centred on two cardinal points, first is to expand the ITF maritime agreement in Nigeria, secondly is to offer assistance in terms of training so that Nigerian seafarers can actually be operating beyond the Cabotage Trade that we have in Nigeria”
“From the record that we have globally, we understand that we have a shortfall of Nigerian seafarers globally, and the only way you can change that is to enhance, through collaboration with NIMASA, so that we can have an understanding where Nigerian seafarers can be trained to have global job opportunities instead of only Cabotage trade”
“The project is designed to capture two affiliates in Nigeria; MWUN and Merchant Navy Senior Staff Association, we have agreed to form a small working group to make sure that our strategy is fruitful”
“Our focus is that at the end, you would have an additional membership density that would project you more so that you can have effective impact on the work you are doing”
“Next is to institutionalise dockers and seafarers recreation centre which we are trying to build for you. It requires the corporation of all stakeholders” he said
Safiyanu also disclosed that ITF for the first time globally, came to Nigeria and installed a portable call centre at the Tin Can Island Port
“This is the first in the whole of the world, I am sure some of you must have seen it around Tin Can Island Port, we are trying to explore other opportunities to see that the facility is extended to some of the ports in Nigeria” he assured.