Stakeholders in the nation’s maritime industry have lauded the contributions of seafarers to national economy notwithstanding the numerous health and safety challenges they confront at sea.
With seaborne contributing over 80 per cent of global trade, the seafarers are at the core of shipping goods and services, even at the point when several nations’ economies were shut down due to COVID-19.
The stakeholders, who gathered in Lagos to celebrate the World Maritime Day 2021, canvassed for improved welfare of seafarers.
The Acting Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mohammed Bello Koko, affirmed the determination to improve the welfare of seafarers towards providing improved and efficient services to the growth of the country.
Bello-Koko said their contributions to the growth of global trade cannot be ignored.
He charged all stakeholders to make available a friendly environment to the seafarers in view of the critical role they play in the nation’s economy.
The Comptroller General of Customs, Hammed Ali, said the day is significant because trade is synonymous with Customs, and trade cannot hold without the maritime industry and the maritime workers of which seafarers are the core.
Ali urged stakeholders to double efforts to reduce vessel turn-around time for Nigeria and to further reduce the waiting time for goods to reach the traders warehouses.
National President, Nigeria Merchant Navy Officers and Water Transport Senior Staff Association, Bob Yousou, stressed the need for Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, to strengthen its enforcement on the Cabotage Act, saying much has not been achieved to better the lots of Nigerian seafarers.
He expressed worries over foreign dominance and disparity of indigenous seafarers, despite trading in Nigerian waters with the same Certificate of Competence (CoC).