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Maritime Security: Why Philippines seafarers will demand higher pay coming to Gulf of Guinea, Nigeria

The recent pirate attacks around the Gulf of Guinea
and in Nigeria’s territorial waters may have caused the Philippine Overseas
Employment Administration (POEA) to resolve that its seafarers will
henceforth demand higher pays when coming to the area.

The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration in a recent report, was said to have classified the Gulf of Guinea,
including Nigerian waters as high risk destination, which will warrant their
seafarers being paid ‘hazard charges.’
Maritime Lawyer and Pioneer President of the Nigerian
Chamber of Shipping, Mike Igbokwe, in an interview described the decision of
the POEA as one to protect interest of its citizens as a result of the increase
in piracy attacks on vessels operating within the Gulf of Guinea and Nigerian
waters.
Igbokwe said, “The Gulf of Guinea is now a high risk
area and because we are close to it, our waters too have been categorized as
high risk area -inland waterways, the Niger Delta and beyond.
“They are talking of 12 nautical miles from the
water…this represents our territorial waters so what they are saying is that
our waters are unsafe and they blame it on piracy.
“They have now come to recognise our waters as pirates
infested and risky to their citizens because they are seafarers. They recognize
that they are plying those risky routes, and want compensation for them if
there is death or accidents and in terms of wages.
“So, they are now trying to give them more wages to
encourage them. Just like those days, Baghdad, during the Iraqi war was high
risk area but some people did not mind going there because they got more
money.”
“The freights or hires will go higher and bring
imported inflation into the Nigerian economy. The reason why it will go high is
that the owner of the ship on which the crew are or who employed them or the
demise charterer will end up paying more to them in terms of wages.”

The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency(NIMASA)
is responsible for ensuring maritime security in Nigeria.

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