…Begins Home-grown NSDP with 700 Cadets Trained
By DAPO OLAWUNI
The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has said that it is sending a fresh list of 689 cadets for sea time training outside Nigeria, even as it has commenced a local version of its National Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP) with 700 cadets already trained.
Director of Maritime Labour Department of NIMASA, Mr Olayemi Abass stated this in Lagos last week.
He revealed that some of the 689 cadets have started boarding ocean-going vessels.
Mr Abass also stated that NIMASA is starting an home-grown NSDP program hosted at Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN) in Oron Akwa Ibom State, as well as other local maritime academies. Already, he said 700 cadets have been trained locally.
This according to him is to conserve foreign exchange that Nigeria is expending on the NSDP training programme abroad.
“We have done a lot in terms of training, we pray that the economy would be able to absorb the graduates of our NSDP Program, we are sending out another 689 cadets for sea time training, some of them have started boarding ocean-going vessels”
“Recently, we trained another 700 seafarers in different academies in Nigeria both private and government academies including MAN Oron, we are starting an homegrown NSDP Program that would have to do with our own local academies on the structure base, to make sure that we produce cadets locally and save some foreign exchange” Mr Abass stated
The NIMASA Director of Maritime Labour also said that the agency is not so impressed with with some of the Nigerian trained cadets, especially with result of their Certificate of Competency (COC) exams.
“We are also engaging some of them for their COC’s even though we have not been impressed of recent, but we commend those who have been able to go through their training and examination successfully” he said
While speaking on placement of cadets onboard vessels for sea time training, he explained that, as a rule, no shipowner applies to NIMASA for any statutory registrations, whether at Cabotage level or the labour level without being forced to take two cadets per vessel minimum for sea time.
He also said the agency is working assiduously to address disparity in wages of seafarers.
“We have no reason to allow foreigners take over Nigerian jobs.
“All over the world in every industrial sector, there is wages disparity, no two people can have the same wages even though they work in the same sector, there are public servants who don’t earn the same salaries, there are people in the manufacturing sector who don’t earn the same”
“So, seafaring cannot be an exemption in our kind of economics climate, if I own one vessel or two, I would not be able to pay the same salary as someone who own ten vessels, there is what they call economics of scale”
“Our shipowners need to partner more, let their be joint ventures and special purpose vehicles for handling shipping, that is when they can pay better salaries.
The CBA that we are negotiating with individual companies is only necessary because of wages disparity”
“We need to engage different companies because the economics of different companies are different, but by and large, there is a minimum level of payment we expected” he said