…Says Group Militarising Seafaring Profession, Extorting Cadets
By DAPO OLAWUNI
In what it described as a threat to National Security, the Nigeria Merchant Navy Officers & Water Transport Senior Staff Association (NMNO&WTSSA) has raised an alarm over the activities of mushroom seafarers associations and illegal bodies masquerading as security and training outfits, thereby extorting unsuspecting cadets.
DAILY TREND NEWS reports that the Merchant Navy Union is an affiliate of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) and it is the only body recognised by Nigerian law, established by the Trade Union Act of the National Assembly.
President of the Merchant Navy Union, Eng Bob Yousuo in a statement issued in Lagos said that the union is where all genuine seafarers in Nigeria should belong to.
He said the industry has been saturated with fake marine “Captains” whose source of qualifications are questionable.
Eng Yousuo urged the Federal Government, the Nigerian Navy and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to investigate these illegal groups and associations, parading as Maritime Security Experts with plans to bear arms.
He stated that the union is sounding an alarm in order not to mistake its members as part of the unscrupulous elements who claim to be seafarers but are not.
Even though he retrained from mentioning their names, the seafarers president said the groups in question engage in duping people in the name of issuing maritime security certificates that are not recognised in Nigeria and internationally.
“It has been a while this unscrupulous elements have been duping people in the name of maritime security certificates that is not recognised and accepted within Nigeria and internationally
“There is no gain saying that this body has CAC registration. It is therefore not a yardstick to establishing a security outfit .
“Merchant Navy Officers all over the world are known to be discipline and professional. There is no Maritime Convention that mandates seafarers to carry arms globally.
“History has it that the establishment of Nigerian Navy (NN) is as a result of the security issues encountered by seafarers plying their trade in Nigeria territorial water. It is therefore the duty of Nigerian Navy to uphold our territorial boundaries and deal with the security challenges faced by seafarers.
“With the coming into force of the Deep Blue Sea project, the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is not leaving any stone unturned to curb insecurity challenges in our territorial waters.
“It is germane to know that in this era of insecurity, in every part of the country, one has to be careful about training people on security matters,” the President stated
According to him, “Today, I want to make this announcement critically clear that the security authorities in Nigeria should hunt for these miscreants who address themselves as captains with their accomplices.
“The certificates issued by this group of people neither conform to ILO/IMO regulation nor in line with Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) requirements.
“NIMASA today stands as the only maritime regulatory agency and I stand to be challenged that the activities of this impostors is not in tandem as far as NIMASA is concerned.
“It becomes glaring that the fake bodies are the ones militarizing our noble profession. They are bent on wearing uniform day in, day out without any plans to go onboard vessel and work, hence the conflict with Nigerian Navy and other security authorities.
“Merchant Navy uniform is the same globally but we stand against the abuse of it. Seafarers are professionals with great repute. They transport about 85 percent of the world trade.” He said