The Nigerian Merchant Navy Officers and Water Transport Senior Staff Association (NMNOWTSSA) and the Maritime Workers’ Union of Nigeria (MWUN) have raised the alarm over the sacking of 300 Nigerians working on the Dangote Refinery.
According to a letter written to the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), the labour unions said the Nigerian crews working on the Dangote Refinery at the Lekki Free Trade Zone in Lagos were sacked and replaced with Chinese expatriates.
The labour unions said Management Company for the vessel, Anglo Eastern Ship Management and the owners of the vessel, COOEC China, said they do not need Nigerians to work with them, adding that the dismissal and replacement shows a pattern of Chinese taking over seafarers’ job in Nigeria.
The organised labour said the influx of foreign seamen contravenes the cabotage act of 2003. Therefore, they are urging the apex maritime regulatory agency to revisit the situation and take quick actions towards ensuring strict compliance to the cabotage law.
“Our attention has been drawn to the above subject matter in contravention of the Cabotage act. 2003. The vessel was detained by NIMASA for failing to comply with the manning requirement of the cabotage law and was later released after 3days, which is not acceptable. Please, we are open to a meeting on the issue.
“We are informed that the owners and agents of the vessels refused to work with Nigerians onboard, rather they already have a full crew of Chinese seafarers from the master of the vessels to the least man onboard.
“Information at our disposal reveals that the Dangote refinery project at lekki, Lagos shall be deploying two AHTS and lay barge for its use. The vessels will be used for the installation of pipelines, SBM and etc. The AHTS has a minimum crew complement of 22 each and the lay barge is to carry 200 staff strength onboard.”
The letter was signed by the Secretaries of the two unions; namely Comrade Julius Efokpor and Felix Akingboye.