Union describes freight forwarders’ call for resignation of maritime agencies’ heads as bias, unprofessional


The Nigeria Merchant Navy Officers and Water Transport Senior Staff Association (NMNOWTSSA) on Tuesday, described freight forwarding associations yearning for the resignation of heads of some maritime agencies over the recent barge accident that occurred within Lagos Pilotage District as biased , unprofessional and counterproductive.

Recall that some freight forwarding groups in the maritime industry on Monday demanded the immediate resignation of the heads of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), the Nigerian Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) over the accident on the waterways.

The groups also demanded that the report of the investigation undertaken by NIMASA over the incident be made public as soon as possible.

While reacting against the background of the stakeholders’ remark, National President of the Seafarers’ Union, Engr. Bob Joseph Yousuo in a statement made available by his Secretary General, Comrade Aleakhue John Okpono to our correspondent opined that sea accident happen even in  advance countries thus doesn’t call for the sacking of the Chief Executive Officers of the maritime agencies , instead an investigative panel be constituted to ascertain the remote and immediate causes of the accident.

The President also distanced the seafaring union from the standpoint of the stakeholders adding that mariners have an informed position on the incident involving the containers laden barge.

Yousou said the stakeholders’ position on the issue lacked marine based judgment adding that “It is when the cause of the accident is known that solutions can be proffered and the issue on ground has nothing to do with the heads of all these agencies in the first instance.”

In his opinion, “It is when findings are made that compensation can be paid either by the government or the insurance companies under cover.”

He also re-emphasized the need for the stakeholders to engage government agencies constructively against issues bothering the sector adding that condemnation of the heads of the agencies would further drag the maritime sector backwards.

Yousuo advised both the operators and their clients to observe safety guidelines in accordance with the international best practices.

While sympathizing with the operators and shippers on the great loss incurred as a result of the recent accident, he called on the relevant agencies to collaborate in ensuring safety of cargoes and crew on the waterways.

He also stressed the need for inter agencies synergy which according to him was lacking among the maritime parastatals and authorities.

The Trade Union Congress (TUC) affiliate boss further called on the barge operators to be knowledgeable and be certified in the business of water mode of transportation adding that personnel must be well grounded and endure sea worthiness of their crafts.

“I will conclude by appealing to all stakeholders to sheath their sword while investigation be carried out so as to come up with the best way to curb future reoccurrence,“ the union boss maintained.

Photo: The President, Nigerian Merchant Navy Officers and Water Transport Senior Staff Association (NMNOWTSSA), Engr. Bob Joseph Yousuo.

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