Maritime workers threaten to shut down nation’s ports

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Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria, MWUN, yesterday called the Federal Government to compel the International Oil Companies, IOCs, to obey the Marine Notice 106 of 2014 and allow stevedoring companies to deploy Dockworkers into their platforms to avoid industrial unrest.

 The  Government Marine Notice 106 applies to all companies and persons engaged in Stevedoring work, including Dock Labour Employers and Private Operators of any work location including Ports, Jetties, Onshore or Offshore Oil and Gas or Bonded Terminals, Inland Container Depots (ICDS), off Dock Terminal, Dry Ports and Platforms.

Specifically, Paragraph 3 of the referred Government Marine Notice 106 stipulates that: “All operators of Ports, Jetties, Onshore or Offshore, Oil and Gas or Bonded Terminals, Inland Container Depots (ICDs), Offshore Dock Terminals, Dry Ports and Platforms, and other work locations are hereby given the notice to grant duly appointed Stevedoring Companies to access to their premises to commence operations.”

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Speaking at the Union’s National Executive Council, NEC, in Lagos, President-General of MWUN, Prince Adeyanju Adewale, urged the government to intervene immediately to avoid a shutdown of ports operations early in the New Year, lamenting that “It is regretted that the IOCs have refused to comply with said Government Marine Notice 106, since 2014 when it was issued.”

He said “The International Oil Companies, 1OCs, have persistently disobeyed our extant stevedoring regulations that stipulate that they employ the services of stevedoring companies licensed by NPA to work in their Oil and gas platforms, this is in spite of our numerous engagements to get them to conform to our regulating labour laws and standard.

Consequently, we are compelled to use this occasion to call on the government to compel these IOCs to respect our sovereign laws in accordance with global standards in other to prevent disruptions in service delivery in these formations whether offshore or onshore. We have been on this issue for more than four years. We are aware that some of the IOCs have complied, while others have not. We cannot continue like this. We are being pushed to the wall. It is important we are not compelled to begin the New Year with industrial unrest.” 

Prince Adewale also noted that “Arising from the insecurity in our nation’s seaport concerning the unauthorised persons accessing the vessels that berth in our nation’s seaport (stowaways), illicit cargo, etc coming into our seaport in the absence of Tally clerks and on board ship gangway men that are statutorily assigned to man security on board vessels, we humbly wish to call for the resuscitation of the Pool system in all ports to checkmate influx of illegal persons into the port and prevent under declaration of tonnage/cargo that comes into our ports.”

Speaking, the Director-General, of Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, among others, appealed to the leadership of MWUN, to give the government more time to address the issue, promising that the right thing would be done.

According to him, “There is a law or rule, you must obey it, and you must obey the standard. We will meet including the IOCs and the Union to resolve the issue in accordance with the law to move the sector forward.”

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