The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has kicked off issuance of biometric identity cards to dockworkers and seafarers nationwide.
The agency said the identity cards were for authentication, verification of registration of Seafarers, Manning Agents, Seafarer Employers, Dockworkers, Stevedores, Jetty, Terminal Operators and Off shore Platforms with the Agency.
Speaking at the official flag-off ceremony, the Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh maintained that the new electronic registration was an improvement in the current manual operations.
He added that it would help centralize, coordinate and integrate the collection and storage of maritime labour data.
According to him, it would provide access to online real time information globally and for continuous improvement of Maritime Labour Functions, among other functions.
Jamoh who was represented at the flag-off by the Executive Director, Cabotage Services and Labour Services, Engr Victor Ochiei stated that “Dock and Seafarer’s industry which have become an important link in the transport network requires constant upgrading in order to respond to the demands of international trade. The growing transport volume, the increasing sophistication of infrastructure, the widespread use of containers and the intensity of capital investment required for the development of Dock and Seafarer’s activities have led to profound reforms in the Maritime domain.
“For Dock work, once relying on mostly occasional and low skilled labour, now requires very highly skilled workers who are increasingly registered workers.
“Consequently, the Agency in line with International Standard has the responsibility to ensure that only genuine registered dockworkers have access to and engage in Dockwork operations by undertaking measures to eliminate unauthorized persons from Terminals/Jetties etc. for safety and security reasons.
“Wherefore, Article 3 of the Dock Work Convention, 1973, No137 specified the fact that Registration shall be established and maintained for all occupational categories of Dock Workers in a manner to be determined by the National Law or Practice.
“Similarly, Article 4 further specified that the strength of the Registers shall be periodically renewed so as to achieve levels adapted to the needs of the Port.
“Upon these, the Maritime Labour E-platform bring an independent robust and integrated information verification and communication platform will ensure a national database of Maritime Labour Industry. To this end, the Agency is to embark on verification of registered Dockworkers nationwide. This will serve as a prelude to the E registration and the project on Dockworkers biometric identification card.
“The biometric identification card will recognize an individual based on their physical and behavioral traits, these include Finger Prints, Eye Retina, Iris-scanning, Voice Recognition, Facial Patens and Body Movement which includes gait.
“In line with this, the Dockworkers verification exercise is to ensure that only physically fit Dockworkers are retained in the industry and those with health challenges and aged Dockworkers are disengaged and replaced where necessary.”
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