Maritime Workers Blame Federal Government For Attacks On Vessels

Irked by unabated attacks on vessels at berth by sea robbers, the apex maritime union body in the nation’s seaports, Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN), has blamed the federal government for the attacks. Speaking to journalists in Lagos, president-general of the MWUN, Com. Adewale Adeyanju, lamented that the termination of tally clerks and onboard security men contracts from the respective stevedoring companies indirectly contributed to the incessant attacks. Eyes Of Lagos  recall that the federal government through the minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, had in 2016 approved the termination of relationship with stevedoring contractors handling a set of dockworkers known as tally clerks and onboard security. According to the NPA, the stevedoring companies’ contract were terminated in line with the current port reforms and laws governing activities at the ports. “NPA does not have any security staff on ships any longer. It is no more the responsibility of NPA but terminal operators according to ISPS code to employ security details on board. “‎Paying for onboard security is against our law at the NPA,” a one-time general manager, public affairs, NPA, Captain Iheanacho Ebubeogu‎ had said. However, speaking on the incessant attacks, Adeyanju said the sacked onboard security men and tally clerks formed integral part of dockworkers. He said:“The tally clerks and onboard security men formed an integral part of dockworkers. We no longer have gangway men aboard anymore. What we are experiencing now might be the attitude of those who don’t have jobs again. “The pirates can just sneak in and perpetrate any form of evil and that is the position of things at the moment.” However, the union leader read riot act to members and executive at various terminals in the port warning against compromise. “We are not comfortable and that is why we took the pain by serving a notice of warning to all our members that any particular area we find out that there is piracy or stowaway on- board a vessel, then the executives will be suspended according to the constitution of the union”, he reiterated. Speaking further he noted that “if there are no internal armed robbers or informants at the facilities, outside miscreants would find it difficult to come in and attack vessels at berth,” Adeyanju further threatened to sack any branch executive in whose jurisdiction such incidents continue to occur. He said the move by the union is part of its effort to complement the efforts to improve security at the ports through its strategic collaboration with the terminal operators and government agencies. Adeyanju alluded to allegations that it is possible some unscrupulous workers at the facility may be compromising to create an opportunity for those vessels to be attacked at berth by hoodlums. He lamented that the union has been uncomfortable about the attacks on vessels at berths and has put in place measures by serving a notice of warning to members of the union working at the terminals. According to him, members of the union who operate at the terminals should serve as watchdogs and support the security personnel of the respective terminals. He also called on members of the union operating at the terminals to synergise with the security agencies in the area of useful information- sharing in tackling the menace.

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