By DAPO OLAWUNI
The Director General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Dr Bashir Jamoh has said that the agency would start issuing Nigerian seafarers with their Seafarers Identification Document (SID) before the end of the first quarter of year 2023.
Dr Jamoh stated this recently at the National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) held in Lagos.
Dr Jamoh assured the large gathering of seafarers and dockworkers that the equipment that would be used for the issuance of the SID has been ordered and that it would start arriving any moment from now.
Speaking he said “When we merged with JOMALIC, we inherited seafarers identification equipment, and we were using it until all of a sudden it became obsolete and we could not continue to use it.
“For about two years now, we have started the modalities of getting the updated version of the seafarers identification equipment, the one that can stand the test of time, the one that cannot be rejected, it is an international document that cannot be rejected, it’s even better than your passport, wherever you go, you would be accepted as a seafarer.
“We have finished the software system, and we have ordered for the equipment, and I want to assure you that before the end of the first quarter of 2023, we would be able to start receiving the equipment, what would remain is the installation and commencement of utilisation and issuance of our SID” he said
While addressing other major concerns tabled by the Maritime Workers Union, Dr Jamoh bemoaned the absence of tally Clerks and Onboard Security men at Nigerian ports, even as he promised to engage the Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) in bringing them back to the port.
“I will engage the MD of NPA, nobody can undermine tally Clerks, they are the ones that ensure accuracy of outgoing and incoming cargoes. Once you have tally Clerks, the issue of non declaration or under-declaration of cargoes would be a thing of the past.
“The only thing we need to do right now is to be more advanced, because technology is coming out every day, so we have to see how we can reshape the function of tally Clerks, how they operate and what kind of new technology we can use to make simpler for them to do their work and it becomes more accurate for us, but nobody can undermine the utilization of tally Clerks in the port.
“I don’t want to give timeline, but let me consult with the MD of NPA, we shall fix a date for a meeting and see how we can revisit that matter” he said
The NIMASA boss also condemned the activity of International Oil Companies (IOC) who are in the habit of flouting rules and regulations laid down by various laws of the country, especially as regards the use of Nigerian stevedores in their operations.
Speaking, Dr Jamoh said “I am not trying to take sides, but nobody can go to a foreign country and do what is happening on Nigerian soil right now, we travel a lot, we know how the international maritime sector operates, and we know standards and laws, so,if there is law, you must abide by the law of the country, every country have their own rules and regulations.
“However in doing that, we do not take the laws into our hands, that is what makes us human beings, you can allow somebody to commit and you bring out the law”