Adegboyega Oyetola, minister of Marine and Blue Economy, has commissioned the Nigerian Seafarers Centre newly renovated by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) in Apapa, Lagos.
The centre is owned by the Mission to Seafarers (MTS) Lagos.
Speaking in Lagos recently during the commissioning, Oyetola commended the NPA for renovating the facility that had been in a poor condition for many years and would support the social, psychological and emotional needs of seafarers who visit Nigeria.
The Minister said the Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy is determined to equip seafarers and other maritime workers with the enabling tools to tackle and overcome work-related challenges.
He implored agencies under his ministry to be audacious in driving smart initiatives that create opportunities and open up growth in the sector.
Also, Mohammed Bello-Koko, managing director of NPA, said it was essential for men and women who spend weeks on end holed up with only workmates for the company to get on shore to interact and access the internet to contact family, seek welfare, to secure medical or psychological support.
He said NPA’s partnership with the Mission to Seafarers to renovate the centre is a testament to a commitment to advance maritime trade and unleash fresh opportunities for growth in Nigeria’s blue economy.
“With an estimated number of 4,000 foreign-flagged ships visiting our shores annually, which implies 300 vessels or a minimum of 6,000 Seafarers every month, it has become expedient that we intensify our collaborations with global institutions like the MTS to encourage shore leave and crew change and reap the benefits for coastal tourism and the projection of positive image and reputation for our dear nation.
Adebayo Sarumi, chairman of Mission to Seafarers Lagos, represented by a member of the board, Yetunde Akinluyi, said the needs of seafarers have evolved from the provision of a base through which they can contact their families to advocacy for shore leave, legal assistance, counselling pastoral care and increasingly psychological support.