Story By Izuchukwu Ozoemena.
To assist Nigeria address the challenges of meeting sea-time training under the Nigerian Shipping Development Programme (NSDP), the Ship Owners Association of Nigeria (SOAN) has developed a Cadetship Training Scheme (CTS).
In a recent presentation made by SOAN, a vision anchored on professionalism, thorough training and mentorship was brought to the table. “The SOAN initiative reflects our collective commitment as ship owners to address the dearth of suitably qualified seafarers for the Nigerian maritime industry”, SOAN president, Engr Greg Ogbeifun, told the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) management team led by the Director- General, Dr. Dakuku Peterside.
Ogbeifun expressed the confidence of SOAN members to see more cadets of the NIMASA pet project, the NSDP, obtain the much-needed seaboard training, not only to satisfy their Certificate of Competence (CoC) requirements and fly Nigerian flag, but also to work on foreign vessels and earn hard currency. He disclosed that two other African countries had already shown genuine interest to keying into the programme, but guided by patriotism, the association has decided to determine the actual needs of the country through NIMASA first, before availing her expertise to other African countries.
He revealed that while the Indians are supplying the officers corps and Filipinos dominate the middle level group and ratings, the scheme was meticulously designed to ensure that Nigeria could supply both the officers and ratings perfectly, adding that SOAN is also working towards providing the sea-time at no bigger cost, but essentially that of minimal requirements for the cadets’ food, books, uniforms, medical and such other official requirements.
“Our streets are full of unemployed (NSDP) graduates” Ogbeifun observed, noting that no patriotic Nigerian, particularly the SOAN can continue to fold hands when Nigeria as a country is on the IMO White List; and can ensure requisite training to provide cadets their OOW certification and subsequently empower them to prudently work within and outside the country and realize their God- given potentials.
An elated Peterside, after sitting through the presentation on the training scheme could not hide his joy.
“I am amazed by the extent of work you have done. I am truly, truly grateful”, the NIMASA boss said of the initiative. He recalled that the primary reason for NIMASA’s existence was because there are ships to regulate.
Peterside applauded SOAN for its unwavering commitment to growing the Nigerian shipping industry.
To undergo the sea-time experience, emphasis is on pure merit, excellence in a written exam, success in oral interview and medical tests.
The cadets would thereafter be on- board for at least a 12-month duration during which they would be rotated on different IMO-approved vessels to enable them acquire different operational learning experience. They would be assigned to different International Oil Companies that SOAN members presently work with.