Abuja MoU, 22 Member Countries Sign Multilateral Agreement on Global Recognition of Seafarers Certificates

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File photo of seafarers onboard vessel

By DAPO OLAWUNI

The Abuja Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for Port State Control for West and Central African Region has announced that it has signed a multilateral agreement with its 22 member countries to ensure that seafarers certificates from these African countries take global recognition.

The agreement is to allow for an interchange of seafarers by member states, thereby allowing them to sail on any registered vessel of these member states.

Eng Richard Owolabi, Head of Technical Department of Abuja MoU stated this at the 2024 Day of the Seafarer celebration organised by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) in Lagos on Tuesday.

Eng Owolabi was reacting to a panel discussion on the lack of global recognition for Certificates of Competency (CoC) issued to Nigerian seafarers due to the clause; Near Coastal Voyage on the Certificates.

DAILY TREND reports that Nigerian seafarers have been limited and discriminated against in getting jobs just like their foreign counterparts as a result of the limited certification (near coastal voyage) being issued by Nigeria.

Flowing from this, Eng Owolabi said the idea of the new multilateral agreement with Abuja MoU member states is in line with the Near Coastal Voyage Certification which is a challenge with Nigeria.

“That agreement would bring into focus and create a stand by all member states, that every Indigene in the west and central African region would have opportunity to sail on vessels registered in any of these nations.

“This would allow for interchange of seafarers and easy access for the seafarers to sail on any registered vessel of these member states.

“All the 22 countries in the West and Central Africa, and NIMASA representing the Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy is the Chairperson of that technical working group and it is to create a technical working relationship among member states.

“Before the end of the second quater of 2025, that agreement would come into force and we are working towards that.

“This would lead to recognition of the certification of our seafarers and remove the challenges of our seafarers going abroad or working in near coastal voyage of Nigeria” Eng Owolabi assured.

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