The Nigeria Merchant Navy Officers and Water Transport Senior Staff Association has kicked against the alleged exploitation by some oil and gas offshore companies mandating seafarers to foot the cost of acquiring Offshore Safety Permit introduced by the Department of Petroleum Resources as required by International Oil Companies.
National President of NMNOWTSSA, Bob Yousuo, said he would put an end to the injustice done to Nigerian seafarers under his watch.
A statement made available to newsmen by the Secretary-General of the union, John Okpono, on Saturday, quoted the president as saying that Nigerian seafarers or mariners were guided by maritime conventions and guidelines from the maritime regulatory body, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency.
It was gathered that DPR introduced the OSP, a requirement posed by IOCs for seafarers to obtain at a fee but the seafarers union has raised the alarm over the directive put in place by the government agency.
According to Yousou, it is not appropriate for anybody or group even regulatory body outside NIMASA to just wake up and impose possession of certificates or permit whose cost is to be borne by Nigeria seafarers.
He said, “We as seafarers are governed by International Maritime Organisation conventions and the Standards of Training, Certification and Watch-keeping for Seafarers 1978, as amended in 1995. It is compulsory for seafarers to undergo tanker familiarization; personal safety and social responsibilities.
“Others include personal survival techniques; fire preventing and firefighting; elementary first aid and proficiency in security awareness and other advance courses.
“DPR is for oil and gas operation and any company under their purview is expected to meet up their requirements by way of paying for the cost of their permit and not the seafarers who have got the required COCs as enshrined in the STCW ‘95.”
Yousou further condemned the unprofessional act of compelling seafarers to pay for the OSP certificate or permit and urged seafarers to report such cases as well as not to accept such responsibilities.
He however advised seafarers to update their Certificate of Competency in order to meet up with the modern challenges in the global profession.