Merchant Navy Union kicks against lmposition of DPR’s directives on Nigerian seafarers

The Nigeria Merchant Navy Officers and Water Transport Senior Staff Association (NMNO/WTSSA) under the leadership of Comrade Engr. Bob Joseph Yousuo has come hard on the alleged  exploitation by some oil and gas offshore companies who mandate seafarers to foot the cost of acquiring Offshore Safety Permit (OSP) introduced by the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) as required by the International Oil Companies (IOCs).
The  seafarers’ National President vowed to put an end to injustice done to Nigerian Seafarers under his watch.
It was gathered that DPR introduced the OSP a requirement posed by IOCs for seafarers’ to obtain at a fee but the seafarers’ union has raised the alarm over the directive put in place by the government agency.
A statement made available to newsmen by the Secretary General of the union, Comrade John Aleakhue Okpono on Saturday, quoted the President as saying that the Nigerian seafarers or mariners are guided by maritime conventions and guidelines from the maritime regulatory body, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).
Yousou reiterated that “It’s therefore not appropriate for anybody or group even regulatory body outside NIMASA to just wakeup and impose possession of certificates or permit whose cost is to be borne by Nigeria Seafarers.
 “We as seafarers are governed by International Maritime Organization (IMO) conventions and the Standard Training and Certification Watch keep  (STCW’95)  is compulsory for seafarers to undergo tanker familiarization; personal safety and social responsibilities.
“Others include: personal survival  techniques, fire preventing and fire fighting, elementary first aid and proficiency in security awareness and other advance courses”, the President explained.
DPR is for oil and gas operation and any company under their purview is expected to meet up their requirements by way of paying for the cost of their permit (OSP) and not the seafarers who have gotten the required COCs as enshrined in the STCW ’95.
Yousou further condemned  the unprofessional act of compelling seafarers to pay for the OSP certificate or permit and urged seafarers to report such cases as well as not  to accept such responsibilities.
He urge all Seafarers to update their Certificate Of Competency (CoCs) in order to meet up with the modern challenges in the global profession.
The National President also called on Nigeria  seafarers to see the need to embrace the union as a veritable tool in assisting on best practices.
He reiterate that he will stop at nothing to defend the rights of Nigerian Seafarers. “As affiliate of ITF, I will use the international connections or influence when I can’t get what rightly belong to us as seafarers through the apex maritime regulatory body, NIMASA”, he said.
He therefore called on NIMASA to stand on its feet to ensure that oil and gas offshore regulator doesn’t impose undue possession of permit/certificates on Seafarers under its watch adding that international best practices must be adhere to strictly.
He further posited that the era of exploiting and enslaving the Nigerian seafarers has gone noting that “we must bring back the lost glory and enjoy the dividend of our Noble profession.”
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