Dakuku Peterside, director general, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), has commended member states of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), Shipowners and representatives of seafarers for taking cognisance of welfare of Seafarers in the amendments to the MLC 2006 Convention.
Peterside, who spoke on the sideline of the ongoing 107th session of the International Labour Conference taking place in Geneva Switzerland where majority of the member states and stakeholders in the maritime sector overwhelmingly voted for amendments to the convention with special attention to seafarers welfare, said that the development would encourage professionalism in the sector.
According to him, with the these amendments, seafarers would no longer forfeit their remuneration in the event of their being kidnapped or captured by pirates or sea robbers during the course of their duty.
“With the recent amendment, each member shall require that a seafarer’s employment agreement shall continue to have effect while a seafarer is held captive on or off the ship as a result of acts of piracy or armed robbery against ships, regardless of whether the date fixed for its expiry has passed or either party has given notice to suspend or terminate it,” he said.
Continuing, he opined: “Another important clause of the amendment deals with ensuring that wages and other entitlements under the seafarers’ employment agreement, will continue to be paid during the period when the seafarer is held captive on or off the ship by pirates or armed robbery.
He further added that in case of death of the seafarer while in captivity, the amendments also ensured the applicability of the law until the date of death as determined in accordance with applicable national laws or regulations.
He noted that these amendments will go a long way in protecting the interest of seafarers in situations outside their control. He assured Stakeholders especially seafarers of renewed vigor on the part of NIMASA as regulator in enforcement of these provisions of the MLC 2006 as amended.
Chris Ngige, minister of Labour on his part said Nigeria has recorded tremendous progress in protecting the rights of workers especially in the maritime sector where a lot of strides had been made.
It would be recalled that at the beginning of the session, Dakuku Peterside had charged stakeholders and industry players to consider Geopolitical peculiarities while reviewing the MLC 2006 Convention and these amendments are seen to conform with his suggestions.