Nine years after ratification, stakeholders decry NIMASA’s poor regulation of MLC
Industry stakeholders have expressed worries over the lack of proper enforcement, implementation and regulations of the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) 2006 by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) nine years after ratification of the convention in 2013.
They lamented that manning agents and ship owners are uncontrollable in term of employment and working condition of seafarers aboard ships, while calling on government to review and revise the convention. A Director of the Centre for Multi-Modal Transport Studies, University of Lagos (UNILAG), Iyiola Oni, decried failure of enforcement and regulations of the MLC in Nigeria since its ratification almost a decade ago.
In a presentation, the university teacher also lamented that the workers right convention had failed to adequately address most of the pressing issues in the nation’s maritime space. Oni maintained that the MLC 2006 was yet to bring about the anticipated changes due to difficulty in implementation by different ratifying flag states. According to him, regulatory agencies of the Convention in Nigeria failed to effectively regulate manning agents and recruitment of seafarers aboard ships in the maritime domain.
He also added that ship owners and their agents do not properly provide rest hours, feeding and quality of recreation facilities. He further stressed the need for the government to review and revise the MLC 2006, pointing out that Article IV of the Convention provides right to secure and safe working environment, fair terms of employment, decent working and living conditions on board ships.
Read Also: Fidelity Bank gets best SMEs award
Oni restated that health protection, medical care, welfare measures and other social protection measures were major components that were itemised in MLC 2006. The lecturer asked NIMASA to collaborate with other relevant authorities to effectively enforce and regulate manning activities in the country, maintaining that adequate welfare of seafarers would move global trade without barrier.
“Seafarers are the drivers of the transformation to a low carbon maritime industry. To attain a low carbon maritime industry, it is vital that working condition, health and safety of seafarers are guaranteed. “Stronger standards are required for safe operational crew and component crew resilience which reduced risk to crew, vessels and the environment.
“The transition maritime task force set up in 2022 made up of the UN’s shipping body, IMO and International Labour Organisation (ILO) targets ensuring that the shipping industry pursues a fair and equitable green transition in shipping,” he added. Seafarers’ unions have also called on the apex regulatory agency to up the ante in furtherance to better the lots of seafarers.
MLC 2006 came into force in August 2013 with the aim of ensuring better working and living condition of seafarers. Currently, no fewer than 96 countries of the world have ratified the provisions of the conference covering 90 per cent of global shipping fleet. Nigeria is the 37th ILO member state and fifth state in the Africa region to have ratified the provisions of the conference in 2013.