Maritime Workers Urge FG to Dredge Calabar, Other Ports

The Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria has written to the new Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Mr Adegboyega Oyetola, demanding urgent dredging of Calabar, Warri, and Port Harcourt ports.

In a letter on Wednesday signed by the Head of Media, MWUN, John Ikemefuna, the union said that the ports were shallow and could not accommodate bigger vessels.

Ikemefuna also noted that the dredging of the Calabar Port had lingered for too long and had affected government revenue.

“…there is an urgent need to dredge Calabar, Warri, and Port-Harcourt ports. These ports are shallow and, therefore, can’t accommodate big ships as it were. Consequently, dredging the Calabar port, which has lingered for too long devalued the port finances to the coffers of the government, because it has virtually become non-functional. Hence, the urgent attention it needed, same as Warri and Port-Harcourt ports respectively,” he stated.

Ikemefuna added that the union was pleading with the minister to prevail on the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency to fast-track the issuance of the biometric identity cards to dockworkers and seafarers identity documents.

The union complained about the absence of officials of the Nigerian Ports Authority and NIMASA in most jetties in the country, adding that the country had lost some revenue because of that.

“It is pertinent to see the presence and visibility of NPA and NIMASA’s officials in all the jetties and terminals across the nation’s seaports, but suffice it to say that there is no presence of the officials of Nigerian Ports Authority and NIMASA in most of the jetties in the country, which makes it a reverse order.

“Therefore, this situation has led to a huge revenue loss to the government, while also contributing to national security risk. Hence, we appeal to the minister to urgently direct the deployment of both NPA and NIMASA personnel to these jetties and terminals where their presence is not in place,” he elaborated.

According to the union, it was a big blow to the industry and the country at large that Nigeria had no national carrier vessels.

“This is unfortunate as Nigeria with all its resources and acclaimed has no national shipping line or an ocean-going vessel.

“Given this and putting into cognisance the magnitude of Nigeria’s strength in Africa and the world, MWUN is appealing to the minister to please use his patriotic embodiment to also initiate the move towards establishing a national shipping line to restore the status of the country and her past glory as this will create employment for our teeming jobless youth across the country,” he concluded.