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NIMASA to save nine-man crew held on Lagos water

The Nigerian Maritime Administration and  Safety Agency (NIMASA) is to investigate why the remaining nine  crew members on board of two vessels  held on Lagos water by the Nigerian Navy have not been released.

NIMASA, it was gathered, is working towards their release to assure national and international seafarers that the country is not above international law.

A senior official of the Federal Ministry of Transport (FMoT) told The Nation, that the crew were on board MT United Trader and MT United Ventures.

The crew,it was gathered, have been detained inside the ship since October,without being able to communicate with their families and friends.

According to the official, the crew did not commit any offence apart from their principal, who is indebted to a firm.

“An estimated 90 per cent  of world trade is carried  out on ship and requires seafarers to operate ship. Seafarers are in this sense essential to international trade and the international economic system. In fact, shipping and seafarers are one of the earliest of the “globalised” industries.

“To protect the world’s seafarers and their contribution to international trade, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) adopted over the years some 70 instruments (41 Conventions and related Recommendations) through special maritime sessions of the International Labour Conference.

“The ILO’s international standards for this sector establish the minimum conditions for “decent work” and address almost all aspects of work including minimum requirements for work on a ship (such as minimum age, medical fitness and training) provisions on the conditions of employment, such as hours of work and rest, wages, leave, repatriation, accommodation, recreational facilities, food and catering, occupational safety and health protection, medical care, welfare and social security protection. In addition, they address issues, such as pensions and an internationally-recognised document for seafarers (a seafarers’ identity document) to assist in border and ship control matters”

The official, however, said there  was  need for NIMASA and the Federal Ministry of Transport to expedite action on the release of the crew without further delay.

“The crewmen of the MT United Trader and Uniter Venture must be released after being held for over six months,” he said.

Investigation conducted by The Nation revealed that the crew has no food and necessities on board and safety-related mater.

The food supplied them by NIMASA, it was learnt, has finished and they rely on rain water to drink.

Among the crew, it was gathered, are Obi Solomon Edjor and Omogbai Vincent

“The nine Nigerian crewmen of the MT United Trader and United Venture must be released after being held for over six months inside the ship.

“The men had been living and wining inside the ship without any court of Nigeria declaring them guilty of any charges.

“The horror of what they are going through and frustration is high.

“NIMASA and the Federal Ministry of Transport are, no doubt, working 24/7 to give them hope.

‘’The crew members have experienced enough trauma and NIMASA is always available to offer support and welfare to the seamen if, when and where required,” the official said.

Security sources at the port told The Nation that the families of the crew had no idea of what had become of their loved ones and no communication had been established between them.

The security official said tackling  piracy or roberry on the territorial waters is a major concern of NIMASA and required a multi-stakeholder approach.

He said the pirates stifled shipping and by extension, commerce, which is a major driver of global economy.

Peterside said he is exploring all avenues to keep Nigeria’s waterways safe for ships plying them. He noted that this required wider consultation.

His office, he said, is championing some initiatives aimed at achieving zero piracy.

He noted that Peterside is committed to making NIMASA accomplish its core mandate of ensuring safe, secure shipping and a cleaner marine environment


Source : thenationonlineng