The Nigerian Merchant Navy Officers and Water Transport Senior Staff Association, NMNOWTSSA, has raised alarm over the activities of fake merchant navy operatives.
They said their activities pose a threat to the already fragile security situation in the country.
President of NMNOWTSSA, an affiliate of the Trade Union Congress, TUC, noted that the Union, Engineer Matthew Alalade revealed in an interview that some persons posing as Navy officers go about perpetrating all forms of crime.
He therefore welcomed efforts by the Nigerian Navy to clamp down on the activities of these fake persons impersonating the Navy officers. He reiterated the commitment of the Union in assisting the Nigerian Navy to clampdown on fake persons also parading themselves as Merchant Navy Officers.
He also warned members nationwide to be wary of impersonating the Nigeria Navy and using the association’s name to commit illegalities. It also advised fake merchant navy officers to desist from using the nomenclature for fraudulent activities.
According to him, any officer without a Certificate of Competency (CoC) cannot be deemed to be a merchant navy officer.
He explained that the Nigeria Merchant Navy Officers and Water Transport Senior Staff Association is a body of senior staff onboard commercial vessels as gazette in the Federal Government official gazette number 23 of 30th April 1987.
He stressed that the union is an affiliate of the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, TUC, the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF), based in London and also a key stakeholder in the Nigeria maritime industry.
The Seafarers Union boss also noted that fake officers are not peculiar to merchant navy alone, stating that it is also common with the army, police and para-military agencies of the government, as well as other uniformed organisations.
The president of NMNOWTSSA maintained that the body does not operate from bases or recruit personnel and does not also promote naval rankings to officers.
He noted that the issue of fake merchant navy outfit poses serious threat to the union explaining that “to become a member officers must pass through maritime institutions to obtain their qualification like OND, HND, BSC and others.
Alalade explained that after the obtaining the certificate, such a person will go for sea time and be eligible for examination to qualify for respective CoC to work aboard a vessel.
“At best you hear a merchant navy officer describing himself as a Captain, an engineer, officer of the watch, a chief and other title”
“While we are on the same page as to the crackdown on the fakes, since we have drawn the attention of the security agencies to their existence, it is important all security agencies be informed that the Seafarers Union do not operate from bases, do not recruit and do not arrogate naval ranking to her officers like the fake ones do.