On this article we are going to look into the difficulties which the Nigerian seafarers are facing in regards of the salaries and jobs. The Poor Nigeria Seafarers’ Salary As Major Obstacle to Cabotage Act by 2nd engineer( Oliver )
Oliver Okeke , is one of the Nigerian seafarers by rank 2nd engineer. he made a large points on how the poor Nigerian seafarer’s salary as major obstacle to 2003 cabotage act . The Cabotage law which was passed into law in the year 2003 , which primarily states that “All commercial transportation of goods and services within Nigerian coastal and inland waters to vessels flying the Nigerian flag, crewed by Nigerian seafarers and owned by persons of Nigerian citizenship.”
On that act, Oliver narrated how this act was not favorable to many Nigerians due to improper attention to it. below are the points he made, which in the international community, is not done that way.:
” CABOTAGE TRADE REQUIREMENTS “
“Four pillar requirements for a Vessel to participate in Cabotage trade are: (i) The Vessel must be owned by Nigerian citizens, (ii) The vessel must be crewed by Nigerian seafarers, (iii) The vessel must be built in Nigeria and (iV) The vessel must be registered in Nigeria. However, a waiver allows Foreign-Owned Vessels to be eligible for participation in the Cabotage trade where Nigerians cannot meet up with the four pillar requirements. Foreign owned vessels are required to obtain this waiver and a licence for participation in coastal trade (cabotage) from the Minister of Transport”
CABOTAGE ACT REALISABITLITY
“All of these requirements can be easily available and obtainable in Nigeria with the exception of #3 [Ships Built in Nigeria], reason being that Nigeria currently do not have adequate capacity ship building yard. We only have ship repair yards and Nigerdock, the biggest of them, only currently build small capacity vessels. #1 requirement [Ships owned by Nigerian citizens] should not be a big problem judging from Nigeria, as a country, being an ‘Oil Rich Nation’ and many of her citizens carrying big names in and outside the country as Millionaires and Billionaires, though corruption and Political instability do not allow them.
Nigerian Seafarers are trying in #2 Requirement [Crewed by Nigerians]. Though faced with the major problem of not having an indigenous Maritime Institution accredited to award higher Competency Certificates (CoC) and no government training scholarship, many still struggle on their own to obtain CoC in countries of Europe, America and Asia. As I write this, there are sufficient number of Nigerian seafarers qualified to international standard which will be enough to fill #2 Requirement of 2003 carbotage Act. However, most of these Officers prefer to stay abroad and work due to Poor salary which is often offered to them by Nigerian Companies simply because they are Nigerians. These Nigerian Maritime companies prefer to employ lower certificated foreigners and pay them high amount of dollars while paying higher qualified Nigerian seafarers salary barely enough to survive them.
FRESH SCHOOL GRADUATES (CADETS) WORST HIT BY POOR SALARIES
Fresh school graduates (Cadets) are worst hit by the poor salaries paid by these companies. Nigerian Maritime companies no longer employ Cadets [NIMASA and Government should please do something about this. If you don’t train Cadets, how do you expect to get officers to fill the industry in the future] and where they are employed, they are paid only 20k Naira per month (convert it to dollar please because training is in dollars) without a plan or promise to sponsor them for their CoC. These Cadets now “struggle” to get employed as Motorman(Oiler) and Able Seaman(AB) where they are paid 40K to 60K Naira
With this rate of salary, they find it very difficult to save money, and with the increasing number & cost of safety and security training/certificates required by IMO for maritime/shipboard employment, to go to school and write their first certificate (OOW) which is required for progression and to fill in the future maritime industry manpower. These cadets have to struggle for about 5 to 6 years to be able to go to school and write their 1st CoC. From 1st CoC to 2nd CoC and to Chief/Master CoC it is the same story because of poor salary..”
EFFICIENCY AND PRODUCTIVITY
The truth about it all is that “Most Nigerian maritime companies prefer to employ foreigners and pay them huge amount of dollars (e.g. Nigerian Captain: 500K naira = 2500USD, Foreign captain: 6000 to 10000USD). This they do because they believe that foreigners will be more hardworking and will better protect their investment. What they do not know is that an equally certificated Nigerian, if paid the same amount of money, or even three quarter the amount, will work harder than the foreign counterpart and will protect that investment more because you know him up to his village and know his village chief.
I worked in a company where this Chief engineer, who earns more than 30000USD per month, will wear coverall (working cloth) from morning till the next morning, every day, 24hours. Most times, he will go under an engine, smear his coverall with grease just to show that he is working and to justify his salary. Even his fellow expatriates, who are paid lower salaries will laugh and talk about him, but at his back. Pay a Nigerian Engineer half of that salary, you will see productivity.”
To me this man made a very big points, in which NIMASA have to work on. because that is what they are there for. please if you support this post, place your comments and share it to reach the DG of NIMASA. thanks.
Linkin Oilver Okeke post.
Photo by a Nigerian officer.
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