Bassey Inyang in Calabar
Seafarers operating in Cross River State under the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) have cried out over what they described as the complete marginalisation of indigenous operators in the industry by , Seven Energy Limited, a player in the nation’s and oil and gas industry.
The seafarers said their marginalisation by the company was just an aspect of what it termed the company’s seeming aloofness to implementing the local content policy in the state.
Chairman of the seafarers in the state, Christopher Edem Effiom, while briefing journalists in Calabar, recently lamented that Seven Energy was operating without injecting local content into its operations.
But Seven Energy has denied the claim by Effiom, insisting that it was acclaimed as the best in corporate social responsibility to its host communities.
Seven Energy’s Media Adviser, Okwudili Onyia , who spoke to THISDAY on the issue said there was no formal contract between Chrisman Edem Ventures and the oil and gas company.
But Effiom, who is the Director of Chrisman Edem ventures, a sea faring company operating from the Jetty of the Tinapa Business and Leisure Resort, said since the company commenced operations in the state, every attempt at getting them to engage indigenous seafarers have failed because the management of the company has continued to use non-indigenous seafarers in their navigational activities.
Effiom who used the experience of his company as a typical example of the ill-treatment suffered by the local seafarers in dealing with Seven Energy, said since his firm was stopped from ferrying staff of the company to and from their areas of operation, no indigenous seafarer located in the state has been contracted to render services to them.
Effiom who said the engagement of Chrisman Edem Ventures was terminated on the allegations that the firm was not up to date with its registration at the Corporate Affairs Commission and the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), expressed surprise that no other seafaring company based in Calabar or the state was given the opportunity to replace his company.
“After my firm was engaged and we worked for them for 4 months without pay, the management of Seven Energy woke up one day in January 2016, and terminated every deal between us and stopped our boat from carrying their company staff.
“A member of the management told me that the decision was taken because they had given me enough time to formalise my registration with DPR.
“The most painful aspect is that it was a day after I succeeded in registering with DPR that they told me our services were no longer needed. I spent over N1million in equipping the boat my company was using and hundreds of thousands of naira to register with CAC and DPR and all that has gone down the drains. It was after terminating my work that they now paid my company what they owed”.
The chairman of the seafarers said at the moment, the company which they engaged was non-indigenous to the state, stressing that given the very nature of the Niger Delta, the security of the communities and Tinapa could be compromised by people coming from outside the state to navigate in the waters within Calabar and Odupkani.
Effiom, therefore, urged Seven Energy to immediately change what he termed “its unfriendly policy” towards maritime workers based in the state.
But speaking on behalf of Seven Energy, Onyia said from findings, the seafarer was given at least four months to register his company with DPR , but Effiom who was the proprietor failed in delivering that on time.
The media adviser stated that Effiom had no reason to complain because as far as the policy of Seven Energy was concern, his company was not recognised as a legal entity to deal with.
Onyia punctured the arguments of the chairman of the seafarers on exclusion of local content, saying local content was not limited to those operating in Calabar alone.
However, he added that the seafarer contracted to handle the ferrying of Seven Energy staff to and from the field are made up of a good number of people from Cross River State, especially from the host communities.
He stated that Seven Energy would continue to live up to its billing as the best when it comes to impacting on communities because topmost on their priority wherever they operate is to offer the best in infrastructure and human capital development to members of the host communities.