According to Ilori, Nigeria, as a large seafaring nation, deserved to play a significant part in world maritime affairs. He went on to say that the safety of foreign sailors should be a top priority.
“Nigeria, as a major seafaring nation with seaports, deserves to play a major role in global maritime affairs. With over 4,000 ships calling at Lagos ports annually, the welfare of international seafarers that ensure the sustenance of our trade should be a major concern that will enhance Nigeria’s international status,” the group’s vice president disclosed.
“They live in a confined environment and they travel long distances. For instance, a ship that comes to Nigeria will take like five months, and in addition to that they live in that environment for a long time. These are challenging and tasking issues. And don’t forget they are not in contact with their families. So all these challenges put psychological pressure on the seafarers and then their general threshold is very small. So they develop psychological problems.” he added.
He went on to add that some of the seafarers could not get help at sea. “They are hopeful to get it (help) at the port and even at the port. They may not even get the support facilities and that is where Mission to Seafarers comes in. When we go to the sea, we look at them if they do need support. We have trained supporters who attend to them,” he continued.
There is what we called the seafarers’ happiness index that we do globally to access the happiness of seafarers. And we found out that on this index, it is very low. So, what we are doing is to work with government, shipowners, and the community to make sure that whatever that is causing their low happiness is addressed,” he stated.
Explaining further, he estimated that there were over 1.5 million seafarers globally “these are men and women who often spend up to nine months far away from their family, friends, and loved ones. This can often lead to loneliness and mental health issues, with limited access to the internet onboard ships.’
According to Ilori, who is also a shipowner, mariners move more than 90% of the world's commodities and fuels.He defined them as vital employees who are frequently overlooked by the wider public.