The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has expressed optimism that with its National Seafarers’ Development Programme (NSDP), the country would soon be an exporter of seamen.
It made it clear that Nigerian youths in the maritime sector were in line to earn in dollars from the programme, even as the agency says it has made provisions for the beneficiaries to obtain their Certificate of Competency (CoC). This, it added, was the beneficiaries undergoing requisite sea time training to qualify them for global shipping and earn in foreign exchange.
Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, made this known in Port Harcourt during the zonal tour of the agency’s eastern zonal office by the Governing Board.
He disclosed that the Agency had made provisions for the mandatory sea time for these NSDP graduates in its 2017 budget proposals, as such would be qualifying hundreds of the candidates for the international labour market soon.
Peterside restated the Agency’s commitment towards building capacity for the maritime sector thereby ensuring that seafarers and dockworkers got the best of training across the globe.
He stressed that NIMASA was in the process of fortifying the NSDP programme in order for Nigeria to begin to export seafarers and earn the much needed foreign exchange.
ptersidee added that the challenge had always been the mandatory sea time training which the agency was tackling headlong.
In his words, “We have made adequate provision for sea time training in our 2017 budget proposal. About 2500 graduates of the NSDP programme will be assisted to get trained on Sea going Vessels for their mandatory sea time and we have concluded arrangements for the first batch to be sponsored in order to expand their chances of job placement on board ocean going vessels. With this, our youths will obtain the Certificate of Competency (CoC) which places an opportunity to earn in dollars along with their contemporaries internationally”.
Peterside further said that the agency was about to begin the process of training about 800 dockworkers, adding that these workers were the helping hands in the port and needed specialized trainings which had not been done in recent past.
The NIMASA boss noted that these capacity building initiatives was geared towards ensuring that in the nearest future the country would be able to export seafarers and have more Nigerians on ocean-going vessels.
He said countries like India and The Philippines enhanced their GDP from the activities of the human elements of the maritime sector and that Nigeria should be able to tap into this opportunity for economic advancement.
Recall that NIMASA initiated the NSDP programme in 2009 to curb the dearth of trained and certified seafarers which is a global challenge recognized by the International Maritime Organization (IMO). The training is in conformity with the Standards of Training and Watch-Keeping (STCW) otherwise called Manila Convention.
The beneficiaries of the scheme graduated from reputable maritime institutions globally where they studied various courses such as; Marine Engineering, Nautical Science and Naval Architecture amongst other maritime related courses.