A ship captain, Alfred Oniye, has said that 90 per cent of dock workers at Lagos ports do not have valid identity cards.
Oniye, who disclosed this in a telephone conversation with our correspondent in Lagos recently, said it contravened international security best practices governing the ports.
A dock worker, also called a longshoreman or stevedore, is a waterfront manual labourer who is involved in loading and unloading ships, trucks, trains or airplanes.
Speaking further, Oniye said that this indicated that even the security systems at the ports were porous, noting that he told some stevedores not to board his vessels because of absence of means of identification.
“The last time I brought vessels to the port in 2021, I discovered that 90 per cent of the stevedores there didn’t even have identity cards. And I asked the port security officer if he was a certified port security and he said ‘yes’. I asked why he allowed port workers to come into the ports without identity cards. There is what we call ISPS, which is just the basic security awareness at the ports. It compels everybody working at the ports to have valid identity cards. So, the company didn’t give them identity cards and this simply means that the security at the port is porous. I told them not to come onboard my vessels, though they were supposed to discharge my container.”
Explaining further, he said it took the intervention of senior dock workers, who promised to ensure they came with identity cards the next day, before he could allow them to board his vessel.
Oniye also said the same situation occurred in 2019 where almost 80 per cent of the stevedores worked without identity cards in Port Harcourt.
According to him, “The company operates in that jetty but didn’t give their workers identity cards. As far as ISPS level one is concerned, as far as maritime security level one is concerned, you don’t come into the ports without a valid identity card.”
He advised the management of the Nigerian Ports Authority not to renew concession agreements if terminal operators were not meeting up with the standards.