The Nigeria Merchant Navy Officers and Water Transport Senior Staff Association, on Tuesday, described freight forwarding associations’ yearning for the resignation of heads of some maritime agencies over the recent barge accident as biased, unprofessional and counterproductive.
Some freight forwarding groups in the maritime industry had on Monday demanded the immediate resignation of the heads of the Nigerian Ports Authority, the Nigerian Administration and Safety Agency and the National Inland Waterways Authority over the accident on the waterways.
Reacting to this, the MNOWTSSAN, in a statement signed by the Secretary General, Mr John Okpono, said rather calling for the resignation of heads of the agencies, an investigative panel should be constituted to ascertain the remote and immediate causes of the accident.
According to the statement, the President of the union, Bob Yousuo, demanded that the report of the investigation undertaken by NIMASA over the incident be made public as soon as possible.
Yousou said the stakeholders’ position on the issue lacked marine-based judgment.
He said, “It is when findings are made that compensation can be paid, either by the government or the insurance companies under cover.”
He also re-emphasised the need for the stakeholders to engage government agencies constructively on issues bothering the sector, adding that condemnation of the heads of the agencies would further drag the maritime sector backwards.
Yousuo advised both the operators and their clients to observe safety guidelines in accordance with the international best practices.
While sympathising with the operators and shippers on the great loss incurred as a result of the recent accident, he called on the relevant agencies to collaborate in ensuring safety of cargoes and crew on the waterways.
He also stressed the need for inter-agency synergy, which he said was lacking among the maritime parastatals and authorities.
The seafarers union boss further called on the barge operators to be knowledgeable and be certified in the business of water mode of transportation, adding that personnel must be well grounded and ensure sea worthiness of their crafts.
“I will conclude by appealing to all stakeholders to sheath their sword while investigation be carried out so as to come up with the best way to curb future reoccurrence,” he said.
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