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Day of Seafarers: Nigerian seafarers grapple with discrimination, rejection

Day of Seafarers: Nigerian seafarers grapple with discrimination, rejection
Tola Adenubi June 29, 2023

The Day of the Seafarers celebration is a day set out globally to showcase the joy and happiness that comes with being a seafarer. In this report, TOLA ADENUBI highlights the challenges that come with being a Nigerian seafarer.

June 25 every year is a day set out by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) to celebrate the human element of shipping, the seafarers. The IMO has carefully taken the theme, “MARPOL at 50 – Our commitment goes on” to mark this year’s Day of the Seafarers.

While the IMO’s theme this year is centered on the immediate environment of any seafarer while onboard vessels, the working environment Nigerian seafarers have been subjected to over the years have left many aspiring seafarers to think twice and look for alternative profession.


Speaking with the Nigerian Tribune, National President of the Nigeria Merchant Navy Officers and Water Transport Senior Staff Association, Mr Bob Yousou, said that despite boasting of seafarers with international and local certifications, the working conditions seafarers are subjected to in Nigeria still call for urgent intervention by the appropriate authorities.

Yousou said, “Our foreign counterparts are not better than us. That they have access to better equipment doesn’t make them better than us because most of our seafarers are well trained in the best schools in the world.

“We have skilled manpower and qualified officers both internationally and locally. When I say internationally, I mean those who have got their foreign certifications while locally refer to seafarers who have their Certificate of Competence (COC).

“However, despite all these certifications, the wages of Nigerian seafarers compared to their foreign counterparts is still very poor. Imagine a situation where a Nigerian captain will be earning lesser than an Indian or Filipino captain despite being on the same level with them?

“We understand when the foreign captain is from developed countries like the United States of America (USA) or Great Britain because the world is classified into developed, developing and third world countries but when the captain is from same third world country like Nigeria and still comes here to earn more than our seafarers who are on the same level with them, then there is a problem.

“We have captains from Philippines, Honduras that come to Nigeria and earn more than our own indigenous captains. Our ship owners make these people look like expatriates and they will be earning 10 times more than what our own captains will be earning. This makes us look inferior and should be discouraged.