The Chairman of the National Seafarers Welfare Board of Nigeria (NSWBN), Otunba Kunle Folarin has stated that the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) is not responsible for the detained seafarers, but rather has been of immense support and assistance in ensuring they have a better living condition in line with international best practices.

The Chairman, NSWBN who led other members of the Board on a courtesy visit to the Management of the Agency, said he thought it necessary to clear the air and exonerate NIMASA from the news making the rounds about the Agency abandoning seafarers; rather he said the reverse is the case as the Agency has always ameliorated their plights.

Accordingly, he said, “For the records, NIMASA has no obligation for detained seafarers; rather they have been assisting us, especially in the area of their welfare”.

Speaking further, he commended the Agency for taking the centre stage in the Nigerian maritime sector by ensuring that Nigeria takes its rightful place in the comity of maritime nations. He also called on other Stakeholders in the sector and Nigerians as a whole to support the quest of President Muhammadu Buhari to bring about a change to the sector, adding that it will in-turn affect the growth and development of the Nigerian economy.

Otunba Folarin who is also the Chairman of the Ports Consultative Council (PCC) also used the opportunity to call for more support from the Agency regarding the activities and well-being of the seafarers and pledged the unflinching support of the Board to the Agency in order to ensure the mandates of the Agency are fully realized.

On his part, the Director General of NIMASA, Dr Dakuku Peterside stated that the importance of seaborne trade cannot be overemphasized as over 90 per cent of goods are transported through the sea.

The DG who was represented by the Executive Director, Maritime Labour and Cabotage Services, NIMASA, Mr Gambo Ahmed also said that there will be no shipping activity without the seafarers; hence they are the bedrock to realizing a robust maritime sector.

“For us in NIMASA, we are determined to ensure a better living condition for our seafarers as they are critical to the actualizing of our mandates. The welfare of the seafarer determines a lot about the growth of any economy and on our part as an Agency, we will continue to ensure their well-being is topmost on priority”, the DG said.

He further assured the delegation that the Agency will continue to partner with them, noting that the overall goal is to realize a robust a virile economy.

It may be recalled that the Dr Dakuku’s led Management has continued to embrace collaboration as a means to achieving its mandates. NIMASA is the government Agency whose responsibility as enshrined in its enabling act, cuts across Maritime Labour activities, which directly concerns the well-being of the seafarers amongst other responsibilities.