As the world continues to battle against the spread of coronavirus also known as COVID-19, dockworkers in Nigeria’s ports have also been advised to avoid getting on any suspected vessel
that may call at the port in the name of work.
President General of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) Prince Adewale Adeyanju, told the dockworkers on Tuesday during a sensitization session in Lagos that they must avoid exposing themselves to the risk of contracting coronavirus.
He was, however, certain that the chances of dockworkers embarking on danger-flagged vessel for work would be quite slim as the Ports Authority would do its own due investigations based on where vessels would be originating.
He said: “If a vessel is coming with danger signal, which is evident by the flag, a dockworker should not climb into that vessel.
“But, I believe that before that stage, the harbor master would have been directed by the authority concerned not to bring such vessel in. Like the MD of NPA said, such vessel would be diverted.
“All I am concerned with is that no dockworker would even take that kind of risk to go on board a vessel with crew coming from certain countries.”
Adeyanju said that though the awareness at the port had been poor, he was pleased that the union members would be more alert about the coronavirus following the sensitization session where they were taught how to use the protective mask as well as hand sanitizer.
He charged the dockworkers to get a bottle of hand sanitizer each for themselves.
The President General called on other terminal operators to emulate the action of the APM Terminals, which had started sensitization on the disease with its workers since Monday.
Meanwhile, the Union introduced a special savings scheme for its members, to enable them safe for rainy days in future.
Packaged by the ARM Managers, the dockworkers are expected to take on the individual-model savings where they could do daily savings and enjoy flexible withdrawal from the scheme without
suffering any loss.
Speaking on the initiative meant to boost welfare of members, Adeyanju said the meeting on Tuesday was to introduce the scheme and guide the unionists on how it works and what they should do.
He, however, said that the takeoff of the savings scheme would be with the executives of the Union.
He said: “We are starting with the EXCO first. So, the district executives and the unit executives will start first before we now bring in the general workers.
“Now, the dockworkers are pensionable, they have gratuity. This scheme is outside their gratuity, it is to support them when they are about leaving, and they can collect their monies whenever they want. It is about the individual.”