Association tasks shipping companies on harassment, bullying of seafarers

She said that shipping companies must ensure compliance to rules and regulations to eliminate harrassment and bullying in the industry.

 

The Female Seafarers Association of Nigeria (FESAN) on Thursday urged shipping companies to address bullying and harassment of female seafarers by their male counterparts to make the industry safe.

Ms Koni Duniya, President of FESAN, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.

Duniya said that all seafarers had the right to work without suffering harassment and bullying.

She said that shipping companies must ensure compliance to rules and regulations to eliminate harrassment and bullying in the industry.

“There are personal social responsibility course that one must do as part of Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping (STCW) before stepping on a vessel.

“The training states that one must know how to compote themselves when they step on a ship, there are also human element training to be done,” she said.

Duniya said that harassment and bullying still persist in the industry due to lack of enforcement and sanctions by shipping companies.

“In terms of regulations, they are there but these issues still persist because the enforcement is weak and it is the shipping company that has to enforce it.

“They have to enforce it because the companies themselves are risking their own business by harbouring those people that are harassing others,” she said.

Duniya said that staff treatment and environment should be prioritised for sustainability.

“They are looking at how one treats the staff, environment and the governance structure, this is because they believe those things are important for the sustainability of the company.

“If you are not treating the staff well, one might go and commit sabotage and so companies need to rise up to the occasion and change with the tide because the era of harbouring a bully is gone,” she said.

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She said that shipping companies need to understand that no staff was replaceable, noting that any person found wanting must be punished according to the law.

Duniya said that the association had been encouraging their members to speak up in order to address the menace.

She noted that what had happened in the past was that there was so much silence on bullying and harassment.

“This is was why FESAN as a group is encouraging public speaking to lift the veil on harassment.

“As a human being, we have the capability to adjust and we are calling on the companies to come to our aid, we need a better work environment for both male and female,” she said.

Duniya noted that some school of thoughts were advocating all-female and all-male crew as a solution to gender harassment and bullying.

“I say no. Who says if you have an all-female they will not bully each other or there will be no harassment.

“It can still happen but the fundamental thing is that they should know that if one harasses another, there will be punishment, no one will do it,” she said.

 

(NAN)

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