The Nigeria Maritime Safety and Administration Agency on Wednesday began the implementation of the Maritime Labour Convention, one year after its ratification.
The MLC 2006, a composition of over 68 existing conventions and recommendations on seafarers, provides for the effective management and regulation of employers/employees relationship.
Ship-owners, seafarer employers, manning agents and seafarers had met on Tuesday in Lagos at a special session convened by NIMASA to acquaint them with their rights and obligations under the MLC 2006.
Representing the NIMASA Director-General, Mr. Patrick Akpobolokemi at the session, the Executive Director Finance and Administration, Mr. Haruna Joro, said Nigeria was the fifth state from Africa to have ratified the convention.
Akpobolokemi said, “I recall the historic occasion of June 18 2013 when Nigeria’s instrument of ratification of the MLC 200 was presented by the leader of Nigeria’s delegation, the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Emeka Wogu, during the 102nd session of the International Labour Conference in Geneva, Switzerland.
“The ratification of the MLC 2006 is a demonstration of Nigeria’s commitment towards ensuring seafarers rights as it concerns their living and working conditions in a decent environment.
“The main objective of this convention is to ensure compliance and enforcement so as to achieve the implementation at both flag state and port state control levels.”
Akpobolokemi added that Nigeria had received technical support and training from ILO, which had resulted in the training of 25 NIMASA labour inspectors.
Under the MLC 2006, shipowners are to provide evidence of compliance with provisions of Employees Compensation Act 2010, Pensions Reform Act 2004, National Health Insurance Scheme 1999 and any amendments when requested.
The Director, Maritime Labour Services Department, NIMASA, Mrs. Juliana Gunwa, said, “Shipowners are to ensure that each seafarer on board has a comprehensive, well understood written contract of employment which includes detailed terms and conditions, provisions for repatriation and distress of seafarers and social security benefits among others.
She also outlined the responsibilities and obligations of manning agents and seafarers.
She enjoined them to comply with all the regulations of the MLC 2006.
A legal consultant, Mr. Matthew Egbadon, said the views expressed by various stakeholders at a sensitisation seminar on the subject last year, were taken into consideration while preparing the draft regulations.
He said, “The final draft we have today is the product of extensive engagement with and consultation of stakeholders which had their final working session on May 21, 2014 in Lagos. Plans have already been concluded to formally present the draft regulations to the ILO office in Geneva for its consideration and further directives.”