NIMASA begins implementation of maritime labour convention, trains inspectors


The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has begun the implementation of the International Maritime Labour convention it ratified last year with the training of labour inspectors. The convention came into being in 2006

The Maritime Labour Convention of ILO 2006 focuses on human element onboard local and international vessels.

The convention came into force globally on August 20, 2013 and will become effectively operational in Nigeria (ITF) had reported that Nigeria, after ratifying the convention, submitted the instrument of ratification to ILO in Geneva, Switzerland on June 18th, 2013. Since then, it said the country had continued to engage in a series of activities to en-sure proper implementation of the provisions of the convention on her territorial waters.

NIMASA Director General, Mr. Ziakede Pat-rick Akpobolekemi, said the MLC 2006 was a product of the fusing of over 65 instruments into one instrument which therefore imposes the challenge of understanding the complex-ity of the fundamental and social rights as they apply to seafarers in a globalised shipping sector.

Akpobolokemi who stated this at the opening ceremony of the training programme stated that though some of the provisions of the convention already exist in the NIMASA Act 2007 and the Merchant Shipping Act, 2007, the innovations and the rights enshrined in the MLC 2006 convention make adequate training of officers who are to implement the provisions of the convention in Nigeria imperative.

The NIMASA helmsman who was repre-sented at the occasion by the Executive Director Maritime Labour and Cabotage Services, Mr. Callistus Obi, said: “The maritime labour inspectors training which takes off today is one of the key activities approved by the agency’s management in August, 2013 for implementation in compliance with ILO requirements for ratifying member states. It is also necessary so as to achieve the objectives of a uniform implementation of flag state inspection and to ensure ongoing compliance at port state levels”.

“The course is further aimed at adequately preparing officers who will eventually carry out onboard port and flag State inspections and to submit reports to MLS Department for certification and mandatory ILO report submissions. It also involves the training of staff of the relevant departments who need the basic knowledge and understanding of the convention to successfully carry out their duties”.

According to him, trainees for the programme were drawn from two key departments in the agency namely, Maritime Labour Services and Maritime Safety.

Also speaking, the agency’s Executive Director, Maritime Safety and Shipping Development, Captain Ezekiel Bala Agaba, said the officers were being trained to be able to perform their work efficiently and professionally in line with international standards.

He said this was necessary in order not to embarrass the nation if they do the wrong things while onboard a foreign flagged vessel. He said if for instance, they wrongly detain a ship, it will become a big embarrassment to Nigeria if the flag state of the ship reacts and perhaps take the matter to the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).

Agaba cautioned that the training which is to be handled by both local and international experts was not the “normal jamboree” but a serious exercise only those who met the conditions would be issued certificates.