Lagos — FOLLOWING the Marine Notice published by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, for stevedoring firms to return to location and commence operations, the leadership of the National Association of Stevedoring Companies has said that International Oil Companies, IOCs, will continue to disobey the nation’s laws in this regard.
Speaking to Sweetcrudereports, the President of the group, Mr. Bolaji Sunmola, said that the OICs have become lords onto themselves thereby the laws regulating the activities of stevedoring operations were not being respected by these groups off-shore operators.
He explained that even when these stevedoring firms report at their designated locations, the IOCs will not allow them go in to work, claiming that they (IOCs) do not know them.
According to him, the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, has done what it needed to do but the IOCs will still frustrate the operations of the stevedoring firms.
Sunmola also stated that the IOCs had at a point, challenged the NPA for engaging stevedores for them, a development that has created a crisis situation in the sector.
He also said, even after the government ordered them to obey and carry out their operations within the law of the land, the IOCs are slowing down the processes and foot dragging the issues.
Recall that the NIMASA, last week, published a marine notice where it warned stevedoring companies to commence operations at their dedicated locations or face sanctions.
NIMASA’s Director General, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, in the notice, said that the agency has directed all duly registered stevedoring companies with operational areas allotted by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), which are yet to start operation, to mobilise to their work locations.
Jamoh said that affected companies should report any encumbrances to the agency.
The directive, according to the agency’s boss, is in line with the Stevedoring Regulation, 2014, gazetted by the Federal Government of Nigeria, developed pursuant to the NIMASA Act, 2007.
NIMASA also notified all operators of ports, jetties, onshore or offshore oil and gas or bonded terminals, Inland Container Depots (ICDs), offshore dock terminals, dry ports and platforms, and other work locations to grant duly appointed stevedoring companies access to their premises for commencement of operations.
He also said only corporate bodies duly registered in Nigeria would be allowed to employ dock labour or engage in stevedoring work on board or from ships. Such corporate entities must have satisfied the requirements for registration specified in the Stevedoring Regulation, 2014, and obtained a Stevedoring license from NIMASA.
“Every dock labour employer or stevedoring company shall provide proper and safe working conditions for the convenience and proper working of its employees and ensure that all stevedoring plants and equipment supplied and being used in their operations are safe and in good condition,” the Agency stated.
Stevedoring companies by the notice were mandated to provide adequate insurance cover for health, personal injury, loss of earnings, and compensation, relating to any incident affecting dockworkers or stevedores in the course of the work of the dock labour employer or the stevedoring company.
Jamoh, warned that the consequences for non-compliance with the guidelines set out in the Stevedoring Regulation, 2014, shall be enforced, in addition to other penalties, such as detention of vessels, sealing of operational area or work location, and prosecution.