…Says Crew Now Challenge Authorities of Captains Onboard Due to Lack of Regimental Discipline
By DAPO OLAWUNI
Even as the Bill for the establishment of the Merchant Navy Coast Guard Security and Safety Corps has passed first reading at the House of Representatives, seafarers have stressed the need for the Bill to address the dearth of regimentation among seafarers and to constitutionalise the Merchant Navy structure.
Raising these concerns in a chat with DAILY TREND NEWS, Capt Segun Akanbi, spokesman of Maritime Professionals Forum (MARPRO) said there has been several cases of ratings beating up senior officers onboard the ship, because, the seafaring profession has lost its original track.
Capt Akanbi lamented that Merchant Navy is not just an association or labour union, he described it as a training board, same as Merchant Navy Training Board in United Kingdom and other countries.
He said limiting Merchant Navy to trade union needs to be addressed in Nigeria.
He said the proposed Merchant Navy bill should define a constitutionally backed up structure and operational guidelines for seafarers.
Capt Akanbi also called on the Merchant Navy and Water Transporters Senior Staff Association to support the proposed Bill, saying that this is the only solution to the issue of insecurity and piracy on Nigerian waters.
“Training cadets or seafarers without the having a regimental discipline is incomplete, that is why you have crew challenging the authorities of Captain or superiors onboard”
“If you go back to the history of the seafaring profession, you will understand the regimental requirements, the uniform, the ranking, the training all has an origin.
Till date, Maritime Academy of Nigeria and Oceanography still have there regiment intact”
“Merchant Navy in other countries are Naval Reserves, ready to be engaged when need arises, this would help the military in terms of capacity and competences”
“Take it or leave it, we are more familiar with the waterways and ship handling than anyone. It would be a great advantage if the Government could take advantage of the idle experiences”
“The pirate attacks is on the rise, its obvious that dere is no immediate solution from the Navy, the earlier they synergize with merchant Mariners the better for them” he said
Capt Akanbi also called for a 1-day meeting between the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Merchant Navy and all Seafarers related groups and association to come up with the true pictures of Nigerian maritime sector and proffer a way forward.
According to him, seafarers are the solution to seafarers problem, but all they need is just a sense of belonging.
He however noted that the existence of bad eggs in the seafaring profession cannot be overruled
On this, he said “You cannot take out the existence of bad eggs from any organization. It is a matter of enshrining a constitutionally backed-up structures and guidelines, then everything will fall into shape. Until you put your house in order, bad eggs will continue to infiltrate your loopholes”