…Sets for Bi-lateral Agreements for Nigerian COC Recognition Abroad
…Eliminates Waiting Time for Sea Experience
By DAPO OLAWUNI
The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) on Friday flagged off the phase-3 of its catch-them-young scheme; Nigerian Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP) with 200 beneficiaries being sent to India, Greece and Philippines.
This is even as NIMASA has assured that concerted efforts are being made to sign bi-lateral agreements of mutual recognition of Certificate of Competency to open opportunities for Nigerian seafarers to work abroad.
DAILY TREND NEWS reports that scores of Nigerian seafarers have complained about a clause in their certificate called; Near Coastal Voyage (NCV)
This automatically limits them to Nigerian waterways, and many do not get jobs abroad.
While flagging off the NSDP-3 officially in Lagos yesterday, Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi charged the seafarers to be of good behaviour and represent Nigeria well.
While receiving the graduated seafarers from NSDP phase two, the Minister advised those who don’t get hired overseas at the end of their sea time training to return back to the country and contribute to the nation’s development, as opportunities are gradually opening up for them in Nigeria.
“For those who are leaving, please do not embarrass the country. You are not just ambassadors of NIMASA, you are ambassadors of Nigeria. You have to be of utmost behaviour. You have to study and pass your exams. There are so many youths who want this opportunity that you have. It means that you must show NIMASA that they did not make any mistake in choosing you. After training, some of you will be hired overseas, the ones that are not hired overseas, please come back to the country. This country is changing in time. You will see the changes as you come. It won’t be easy, it’s difficult, but the changes are coming gradually,” he said.
The Minister also called on NIMASA to consider training institutions in Nigeria when sending cadets for sea time, as there are some with such capacity.
Earlier in his keynote speech, Director General of NIMASA, Dr Bashir Jamoh said the NSDP-3 was borne out of the challenges encountered in the past during the first two phases, especially challenges of securing sea time for the cadets.
He assured that challenges of sea time experience would no longer play out in the NSDP because the training and sea time would be running together.
“The Agency has engaged two Institutions with a specially structured curriculum and solid track record with the Agency in terms of provision of berth spaces for sea-time training. It will be learning and going to sea”
“Sea-time training will be part and parcel of the programme so that there is no waiting time; students will learn for a period determined by the Institutions and embark on voyages ranging from 3-6 months and go back to school. This is against the standard in the past where cadets complete shore-based training and wait for allotment and call up to board vessels” he said
Speaking further, the NIMASA boss said that in order to prepare Nigeria for the coming opportunities through seafaring, the Agency will make concerted efforts to sign bi-lateral agreements of mutual recognition of Certificate of Competency to open opportunities for Nigerian seafarers to work abroad.
He said NIMASA is working with industry experts to ensure that its Maritime Education and Training (MET) meets international standards.
Dr Jamoh said the agency has no regrets on the NSDP Programme, describing it as a large success from inception.
“We have since inception, trained 2,041 cadets across different countries of the world like the United Kingdom, India, Egypt, Romania and the Philippines in Marine Engineering and Nautical Sciences, chosen deliberately to gain strategic knowledge from their vast experience in seafaring and Maritime Education and Training”
“As of today, 656 Cadets have qualified as officers in the fields of Marine Engineering and Nautical Sciences with a Certificate of Competency (CoC) from the UK, Egypt and the Philippines. The Agency is preparing 360 cadets for CoC examinations while 93 are already enrolled for CoC. 446 are currently undergoing sea-time experience onboard vessels scattered all over the world. Through the NSDP scheme, let me quickly add that we have trained 31 Naval architects, which will form the basis for our shipbuilding needs.
“Besides statistics, the NSDP scheme can identify with faces and names of beneficiaries who took the opportunity to represent the country, with both hands. All batches of cadets that we have sent out have not disappointed – in fact, they have won academic laurels from different institutions across the world; they are competing for jobs in the global seafarers’ market and in our maritime domain; more Nigerians officers are working onboard in good numbers like never before” he said
On his part, the Chairman Board of NIMASA, Rt. Hon Asita Asita, expressed pride that the NSDP will make an impact in the Nigerian Maritime sector. He tasked the participants to do well as ambassadors which will in turn stir more Nigerian youth to participate in the Maritime sector, adding that the programme will help fill the unemployment gap in the country.
Also speaking, Former DG of NIMASA, Dr Ade Dosunmu, in his goodwill message, expressed joy that the NSDP which was initiated 11 years ago is still waxing strong.
He said, “I’m elated with the manner in which NIMASA is implementing this programme which was initiated 11 years ago. I thank the Minister, Rt Hon Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi for providing purposeful leadership in the maritime sector. The sector has witnessed unprecedented growth since you became Minister. The removal of wrecks in our waters has commenced, piracy has reduced drastically; I commend this administration.”
Also speaking, Sir Charles Wami , Managing Director of Charkin Maritime Academy, called for more partnership with indigenous maritime institutions on sea time training.
He advised the cadets to be disciplined and assured them of success, stating that, “On board a ship, cadets are not supposed to be heard but seen. As long as the sea never dries, there’ll be job for you as mariners. This profession is one that you can be proud of.”
Other partners and dignitaries with goodwill messages at the event include, the NLNG Ship Management Limited, one of the highest employers of seafarers in Nigeria, Retired Merchant Navy Captain and former Minster of Interior, Emmanuel Iheanacho, among others.