By Oko Ebuka
The Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers’ Council, NSC, Mr. Hassan Bello, has weighed the importance of National Fleet to the nation’s economy as something beneficial with exponential boost to the economy if implemented.
Speaking at an event in honor of the World Seafarers Day 2019, organized by Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, with the theme: “On Board With Gender Equality”, recently held in Lagos, Bello said that the country having realized a total sum of $9 billion between foreign ship owners as freight on dry and wet cargoes in 2015 alone, can surpass the figure if the national fleet will be authorized.
According to Bello, “Nigeria for example in 2015, bring a total sum of $9 billion as freight on dry and wet cargoes between foreign ship owners, imagine what it could have been if we have the national fleet.”
He praised NIMASA’s effort in making sure that the pending project sees the light of the day through the collaboration with the National Committee on Fleeting.
“I am happy that NIMASA is collaborating with the national committee on fleeting to ensure that it is conformed.”
Also while speaking particularly on the theme of the event; Mr. Bello urged all Maritime sectors in Nigeria to acknowledge the importance of seafarers as over 60 percent are from 10 nations like Philippines, Indonesia, China, Turkey, Russia, India, United States, Ukraine, wales and Japan, while the remaining percent are from the rest of the world.
In his words, “Over 60% of the world seafarers are supplied by 10 nations, Philippines, Indonesia, China, Turkey, Russia, India, United States, Ukraine, wales and Japan.”
He agitated for the promotion of gender equality by eliminating all forms of discrimination and social vices which affects women in seafaring activities as their number is highly insignificant.
“According to International Transport Workers, ITW, only about 2% of the world’s 1.25 million seafarers are women. Seafaring is therefore a male dominating profession.
“Most of these women, 94% work under the titles of persons such as in boats and ferries, only about 6% of women work on cargoes
“According to International Maritime Organization, IMO, generally, women work as hotel staff or passing the ships, of this group, 5.1% of women are from The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, OECD, countries, 23% from Europe, 13.7% from America, and sadly, only 1.7% are coming from Africa.
“The reason for the low percentage of women in the seafaring is the harsh working environment from the sea to other issues such as harassment, gender disparity, violent harassment and inappropriate comments.
“For instance, over 18% of women seafarers globally have complained about sexual harassment by their male counterparts.
“And according to 2015 survey, jointly carried out by Women International Shipping and Trade Association, the International Maritime Organization and the International Seafarers on the fierce network has handed cognizance to the issue, this otherwise is pending on the profession”, he concluded.