Under the auspices of the Nigeria Merchant Navy Officers and Water Transport Senior Staff Association, Seafarers have claimed that regulatory bodies’ failure to enforce and administer the Cabotage Act has resulted in the industry’s unemployment.
In a statement, the union’s president, Bob Yousou, blamed the sector’s unemployment on an influx of international peers.
However, as part of attempts to limit foreign domination in the nation’s marine sector, Yousou urged the Federal Government to promote local content and the Cabotage Act.
“The government should checkmate the influx of foreign seafarers into the nation’s maritime space. Lack of enforcement and implementation of the Cabotage Act by regulatory agencies has resulted in unemployment.”
While highlighting some of the difficulties faced by Nigerian seafarers, Yousou stated that the union would continue to support the government’s policies.
Nonetheless, he criticized Nigerian sailors’ employers, ship owners, and manning agents for delaying their wages, branding such acts as enslavement.
The president explained that while foreigners engaged in the nation’s territorial waters got paid conformably, their local counterparts were not treated equally.
“An average Nigerian worker‘s standard of living is poor. The nonexistence of a collective bargaining agreement for seafarers in most shipping companies is discouraging. We must be united to fight our common enemies – the slave master of our time.
“We use this opportunity to request that the Federal Government of Nigeria consider floating a national carrier. With a national carrier, cadets can have sea time training, carry Nigeria cargoes and reduce capital flight,” he concluded.