Following a statement credited to the leadership of the Nigeria Trawler Owners Association (NITOA) accusing him of inciting criminalities against the trawlers operators at sea by his comments, the President, Association of Marine Engineers and Surveyors (AMES), Engr. Charles Uwadia has said that his comments were misunderstood.
Speaking in an interview with our correspondent in Lagos over weekend, Uwadia noted that contrary to the inferences by the leadership of NITOA, at no time did he say that the trawlers owners give the crew money to carry onboard the vessels as according to him,” the statement coming from them (NITOA) is implying that I said that they gave them money to carry onboard that is why they get attacked on the sea”.
He further recalled that his comments were in response to a newspaper publication where the trawler crew claimed that they were grossly underpaid, that even the captain get N15,000 to N20,000 a month and that the crew also get thugs to escort them to which they pay about N1 million for thugs to escort them to go to sea.
“My reaction was, if they are being paid N15,000 to N20,000 a month, where do they raise the money to hire thugs to go to sea with them? That the security of the trawlers should lie with the owners and that the owners should take full responsibilities to make sure that the security apparatus put outside there by NIMASA and Navy is what they should follow. The owners should follow those security apparatus but not to encourage hiring of thugs because if the owners don’t know that the crew pays N1 million to hire thugs, then where are they getting the money from? Of course, they are getting the money because they probably would be selling fish.
“This is exactly what I said and that was why some of them are not even bothered about their wages, some of them don’t even know how much they earn.
“I was just reacting to a newspaper publication, so, they should go back and look at that newspaper publication where it said that the crews were being paid N20,000 and where it said that the crew are hiring thugs to take the vessels to sea”, he explained.
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