The Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi delivering his keynote address the event.
Story by Dili Utomi.
The Maritime day is a day set out to recognise and celebrate the enormous impacts and contributions of the men and women who work and give the immeasurable services that they render everyday of their lives, it is usually a day of stock taking, a day to sit and fashion out better ways of doing business in the sector in order to help unlock the great potentials within and around the sector. It was with these objectives in mind that the Federal Ministry of Transportation organised this year’s Maritime day celebration which held yesterday, the 30th of September at the main hall of the Eko hotel with the theme “Seafarers at the core of shipping’s future.
A group photograph with the minister at the occasion.
The permanent secretary of the federal ministry of transportation, Dr. Magdalene Ajani in her welcome address noted that the day is ” Usually used to focus attention on the importance of shipping, safety, maritime security and protection of marine environment as well as to emphasise on a particular aspect of the work of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO)”. Dr. Ajani added that the theme ” Seeks to increase the visibility of seafarers by drawing attention to the invaluable roles they play now and continue to play in the future”. This year’s paper presentations have been chosen to address the challenges and explore the opportunities and the quality of seafarers’ career and its impact in the future of global trade.
Rep. Of CGC, DC Dera Nnadi during his goodwill message.
The president of Women In Maritime Association (WIMA), Mrs. Bola Muse in her goodwill message noted that ” This is an opportunity to appreciate the efforts of the seafarers” as she urges all to accord them the dignity and support that they deserve. She also added that the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) should consider at great lengths all the efforts of the seafarers.
In another goodwill message by the alternate permanent representative of the IMO represented by Mr. Abdulmumin, he said that only 50 of 150 member countries recognise the seafarers as key workers and that this should be improved upon. Mr. George Morghalu, the managing director of National Inland Waterways Agency (NIWA) said that “Seafaring is one of the most challenging jobs in the world and that it should not be trivialised as the risks despite advancement in technology have not abated. He added that there can never be ships without Seafaring and so they play important roles in our lives.
The acting MD of the NPA, Mohammed Bello-Koko delivering his goodwill message.
The minister of State for transportation, Ms. Gbemi Saraki through her zoom broadcast noted that ” We must overcome and exploit the new challenges and opportunities presented by the covid-19 pandemic in forging a better future for seafarers”. The chairman of the Ship Owners Forum, Mrs. Obiageli Obi who was represented said that “Seafarers have found themselves in very difficult position owing to the covid-19 pandemic, but that they are committed to their jobs. She added that a federal government investment in seafaring will take care of the present unemployment rate. She pointed out that Nigerians do not own ships and that 99% of all cargoes in and out of the country are handled by foreign vessels”. She advised that the physical and mental wellbeing of the seafarers must be taken care of.
The DG of NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh delivering his goodwill message at the event.
Mr. Mohammed Bello-Koko, the managing director of the Nigerian Ports Authority said that “There have been cases of seafarers being stranded at sea as a fallout of the covid-19 pandemic and so we need to do more for them”. He added that there should be stronger commitment to encouraging and appreciating the roles of this highly treasured sets of people. The director general of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Bashir Jamoh said that “Seafarers are our invisible heroes, that over time the seafarers have contributed immensely to the economic existence of mankind and that over 90% of cargoes are moved through the seas and that seafarers are always there to do their job”. He said that we will always be indebted to seafarers for their contributions . He chipped in that NIMASA was the first to recognise seafarers as essential workers.
Group photograph with Women In Maritime Association.
The Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) as represented by its vice president general, Tonye Harry said that seafarers undertake a wide range of duties within and outside the Maritime sector and should be accorded better recognition. The registrar of the Council for the Registration of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN), Mr. Sam Nwakohu said that seafarers handle about 89% of world cargoes with about 6,143 ships moving around the oceans annually and over 23 TEUs of cargoes as he asked the question ” What will the world economy be without seafarers”? Mr. Nwakohu said that the covid-19 pandemic has added more strains to the arduous tasks of the seafarers. He noted that the Nigerian seafarers were at the time of the Nigerian National Shipping Lines (NNSL) the envy of all professionals with many ships in her fleet, but that those glory days can still be regained.
The representative of the chief of naval staff, Rear Admiral Adaju paid a lot of tributes to all seafarers as he noted the critical roles that they play in all our lives.
The representative of the Controller General of Customs, DC Dera Nnadi said that “Trade is synonymous with the Customs and that trade cannot take place without the seafarers”. The representative of the IMO secretary general said that he is glad with the launch of the deep blue project as this will ensure the safety of lives and property.
The representative of the Nigerian Society of Marine Engineers, Mr. Yinka Adeyinka said that according to the IMO seafarers are at the core of shipping in the world. He added that “Seafarers are the engine of growth underpinning the economies of the world today”. He also said that Seafarers and shipping are inseparable and that these affect are our lives and are very important in all considerations. The representative of Ms. Linda Chuba-Ikpeazu, Mr. Humpe noted that seafarers are very much important in all our lives and should be celebrated. Senator Tola Odebiyi said that “The role of the maritime sector and their activities all over the world cannot be possible without the enduring commitment of seafarers”.
The Lagos State governor who was represented by the managing director of the Lagos State Waterways Agency (LASWA) said that ” The blue economy is a vast untapped area that has the potential to grow our economy and that seafarers are at the core of it all”. He admonished that there should be an optimal utilisation of the resources provided within this sector of the economy.
The secretary to the federal government represented by Senator Tola Odebiyi noted that about 250,000 seafarers were stranded without health care as a fallout of the covid-19 pandemic.
The minister of transportation, Mr. Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi in his keynote address said that “Shipping and seafarers keep global commerce and trade running with over 50,000 merchant ships trading internationally and transporting every kind of cargo” He added that “The shipping industry is the most efficient mode of transportation and is responsible for over 90% of everything we see around us including manufactured items or bulk transport of raw materials”. Mr. Amaechi said that there are over 7,000 seafarers on the Nigerian Seafarers Register and that the government is committed to achieving more and also seeing to the wellbeing and empowerment of Seafarers.
He also did an appraisal of the different agencies and parastatal under his ministry as he commended most for being alive to their responsibility, but tongue lashed the CRFFN for being “A petition writing” agency with all manners of troubles as he joked that the government may just consider issuing them letters saying “Your services are no longer needed”.
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