Seafarers’ welfare: NIMASA hails ILO’s amendment to MLC 2006
From left: Executive Director Maritime Labour and Cabotage Services, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency NIMASA, Mr. Gambo Ahmed, Director General of the agency, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, Minister Of Labour Dr. Chris Ngige and other stakeholders at the ongoing 107th session of the International Labour Conference in Geneva, Switzerland.
BY FRANCIS EZEM
The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency NIMASA, has commended member states of the International Labour Organisation ILO, ship owners and representatives of seafarers for their decision to amend the Maritime Labour Convention MLC, 2006, which is expected to give prominence to welfare of the seafarers.
Director General of the agency, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, who gave the commendation, spoke at the sidelines of ongoing 107th session of the ILO in Geneva, Switzerland where majority of the member states and stakeholders in the global maritime industry overwhelmingly voted for amendments to the convention with special attention to seafarers’ welfare.
According to the DG, this current development would encourage professionalism in the global maritime industry.
He stated that with these amendments, seafarers would no longer forfeit their remuneration in the event of their being kidnapped or captured by pirates or sea robbers during the course of their duty adding that the amendment is very relevant in jurisdictions that are still prone to sea robbery, kidnapping and piracy.
“With the recent amendment, each member state shall require that a seafarer’s employment agreement shall continue to have effect while a seafarer is held captive on or off the ship as a result of acts of piracy or armed robbery against ships, regardless of whether the date fixed for its expiry has passed or either party has given notice to suspend or terminate it”, the DG said.
The NIMASA DG also noted that another important clause of the amendment has to do with the area where a seafarer is held captive on or off the ship as a result of acts of piracy or armed robbery against ships, wages and other entitlements under the seafarers’ employment agreement in line with relevant collective bargaining agreement or applicable national laws, including the remittance of any allotments as provided , shall continue to be paid during the entire period of captivity and until the seafarer is released and duly repatriated in accordance with set standard.
He further added that in case of death of the seafarer while in captivity, the amendments also ensured the applicability of the law until the date of death as determined in accordance with applicable national laws or regulations.
It was further that these amendments will go a long way in protecting the interest of seafarers in situations outside their control.
The NIMASA-boss however assured stakeholders in the country, especially seafarers of renewed vigour on the part of NIMASA as regulator to enforce to these new provisions of the MLC 2006.
Recall that Dr. Peterside had while speaking during the opening ceremony at the event, charged stakeholders and industry players to consider geopolitical peculiarities while reviewing the MLC 2006 Convention, as some of these suggestions were reflected in the amendments to the convention.
Meanwhile, Minister of Labour, Dr. Chris Ngige, while also speaking at the event, said Nigeria has recorded tremendous progress in protecting the rights of workers especially in the maritime industry, where a lot of giant strides had been recorded.