The Chairman, Mission To Seafarers Lagos (MTSL), Chief Adebayo Sarumi, on Monday in Lagos pledged to work toward improving the welfare of seafarers in Nigeria during a briefing, saying over 3, 000 ships berth in Lagos yearly, with 80 percent being foreign-flagged, while 85 percent of the goods and services one sees around come by sea.
“The delivery of these goods by sea is often taken for granted because of the consistent flow of trade. Even during the pandemic period of Covid-19, maritime trade remains an essential service and seafarers essential workers.
“The sad irony is that while most pay attention to the cargo, few ever ask, who delivers them?
” The seafarers are the ones carrying the most important and precious cargo of all while the men and the women that work assiduously to sustain our precious maritime trade are the invisible hands that propel nations to sustenance, survival and the superlative.
“They are also the most overlooked aspect of the value chain; their welfare often trivialized.
” Seafarers welfare is a hydra-headed challenge. It has institutional, political, cultural. and social nuances, to name but few, and the responses to the narrative are diverse,” he said.
Sarunmi, on behalf of the committee, however, acknowledged various organisations, institutions, and administrations that had continually taken on the plight of the seafarers.
He said that MTSL, on its part, was poised to ensure the ball does not drop.
Sarumi, a former Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), said that the Mission’s strategy was to upgrade and upscale the centre’s facilities to some modicum of acceptable standards.
He sought collaboration with both national and International progenitors as well as maritime industry friends and allies in putting up a world-class MTS facility in the Seafarers Centre in Apapa.
Sarumi commended the support and prayer offered for them by the Diocesan, the Bishop of Lagos, the Right Reverend Dr Humphrey Olumakaiye as well as other stakeholders in the maritime industry.
He described the Mission in Lagos as an international, humanitarian, and non-governmental secular organisation dedicated to the welfare of seafarers regardless of sex, creed, belief, race or political disposition.
The mission, according to him, is one of over 260 Mission to Seafarers (MTS) stations operational across the globe, with its global mantra of “Caring for Seafarers around the world”.
He said that the MTSL had been in existence for over 60 years, as part of a global organisation which had been in existence for over 150 years.
Sarumi said that MTSL had an advantage of being the first seafarers’ welfare institution in the country.
“This briefing initiates our Mission Week. Until the COVID outbreak, it was intended to be a week-long series of events to further endear our various stakeholders to the seafarers’ community.
” On Thursday, July 9, high-end advocacy will be at play as we shall be hosting a global virtual Seafarers seminar (Webinar) with the Theme, ” Seafarers Welfare: Are we Missing the boat? ”
” We hope to visit some maritime institutions and intimate them of our vision while we hope to cap Mission week on Sunday, July 12 with a Thanksgiving Service, which will also be broadcast online,” he said.
The treasurer to the Mission, Mr. Igho Dafinone, while taking members, special guests, and media around the Seafarers center at GRA in Apapa, listed the facilities to be put in places such as swimming pool, library, canteen, bar and guest house.
Dafinone said that the Mission was looking forward to an expert who would design the Centre to international standards and the mission would be paying him as soon as they got support from stakeholders