By Elizabeth Uwandu

As Nigerians await the release of names of Ministers in the President Muhammadu Buhari second term in office, the Merchant Navy Association of Nigeria, MNAN has said appointing technocrats into key agencies in the maritime sector will enable the country to enjoy the benefits of blue economy. 

Speaking recently in Lagos, Director of the body, Capt Abel Ogah, also hinted that the association has established an academy to enable seafarers to know their rights. 

“What we have tapped from the maritime environment is far lesser than what is yet to be tapped, and until you know what is there, you cannot go and get it. For us, we are seeing beyond what we are even operating.

“The area of concentration in the country, for now, is oil and gas, and this is not the only thing available in the maritime industry. The first step is to put the right people in the right places. You cannot be formulating a policy about what you don’t have the understanding of. When you make a historian the administrator of a maritime environment, he would come and tell stories. Round pegs must be put in round holes,” he said.

Lamenting the unfair treatment meted on seafarers due to lack of understanding of the workers’ rights and privileges, Ogah said the Merchant Marine Training Academy was set up as part of efforts by MNAN to education seafarers. 

He said, “Do you know that our seafarers are underpaid? Unfortunately, so many of them are not aware of. There is a standard remuneration for seafarers but Nigeria does not adopt it. Through this association, you would know what your right is and what you are entitled to,” he said.

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