By Aisha Cole
Lagos – The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) on Wednesday in Lagos said beneficiaries of the Nigerian Seafarers’ Development Programme (NSDP) would obtain their Certificate of Competency (CoC) by undergoing requisite sea time training
A statement by the Head, Corporate Communications of NIMASA, Mr Isichei Osamgbi, noted that the Director- General, Dr Dakuku Peterside, said this during a tour of the agency’s Eastern Zonal offices by the Governing Board of NIMASA.
He said that this would qualify the youth for global shipping; for Nigeria to export seafarers; and to earn foreign exchange.
Peterside said the agency had made provisions for the mandatory sea time for the NSDP graduates in its 2017 budget proposals.
According to him, this will qualify hundreds of the candidates for the international labour market soon.
Peterside restated the agency’s commitment toward building capacity for the maritime sector, thereby ensuring that seafarers and dockworkers received the best of training across the globe.
He said NIMASA “is in the process of fortifying the NSDP programme in order for Nigeria to begin to export seafarers and earn the much needed foreign exchange.’’
The director-general said the challenge had always been the mandatory sea time training which the agency was tackling headlong.
“We have made adequate provision for sea time training in our 2017 budget proposal.
“About 2,500 graduates of the NSDP programme will be assisted to get trained on sea-going vessels for their mandatory sea time.
“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 for them to earn dollars along with their contemporaries internationally,’’ the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) quotes Peterside as saying.
He said the agency “is about to begin the process of training about 800 dockworkers’’.
“These workers are the helping hands in the port and need specialised trainings which has not been done in recent past,’’ NAN quotes him as saying.
Peterside said the capacity building initiatives were geared toward 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 Philippines enhanced their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) from the activities of the human elements of the maritime sector.
The director-general said Nigeria should be able to tap into this opportunity for economic advancement.
NAN reports that NIMASA initiated the NSDP programme in 2009 to curb the dearth of trained and certified seafarers, which is a global challenge recognised by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).
The training is in conformity with the Standards of Training and Watch-Keeping (STCW), otherwise called Manila Convention.
The beneficiaries of the NSDP graduated from reputable maritime institutions globally.
The graduates studied various courses such as; Marine Engineering, Nautical Science and Naval Architecture, among other maritime-related courses.