ABUJA – The Nigerian Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP), an initiative of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), has once again graduated 130 cadets from the Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport in Alexandria, Egypt. This has further increased the pool of Seafarers in the sector as it brings to a total number of 1,045 graduates from the NSDP project, representing 42 percent graduates of the over 2,500 NIMASA sponsored beneficiaries.
Disclosing this at the graduation ceremony in Egypt, The Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, noted that NIMASA sponsored over 2,500 aspiring cadets to the best maritime institutions around the world including Egypt, Romania, The Philipines, United Kingdom as well as India.
Giving a breakdown, he said 226 graduated from the Arab Academy in Egypt; 76 from South Tyneside, Newcastle in England while 743 graduated from various partner universities in The Philippines.
Peterside, who was represented at the event by the Executive Director, Maritime Labour and Cabotage Services of the Agency, Mr. Gambo Ahmed, congratulated the graduands who had their degrees in various maritime related disciplines ranging from marine transport and logistics and nautical engineering, among others. He enjoined them to bring to bear the knowledge acquired to improve on the fortunes of the Nigerian maritime industry.
The Director General further disclosed that the school has offered to partner with NIMASA in providing sea time training for the graduating students and other NSDP graduands from other schools, which has hitherto been a challenge. This, he noted, would further complement the agency’s other efforts in getting sea time training for graduate cadets.
Peterside added that NIMASA was also exploring other avenues to enrich the NSDP programme and reiterated that the impact of the programme would be felt world over, as Nigeria would soon start exporting Seafarers like the Philippines and other reputable maritime nations. This he said will reduce unemployment in the country and attract the much needed foreign exchange.
The graduands were full of appreciation for the opportunity granted them to excel by NIMASA and pledged to use the knowledge acquired to enhance the Nigerian maritime sector.
Speaking with the Coordinator of NSDP scheme, Mr. Victor Egejuru, Deputy Director, Maritime Labour in NIMASA, the youths thanked the government of President Muhammadu Buhari and management of NIMASA for the opportunity given them to progress in their chosen career and in growing capacity in the maritime sector.
In attendance at the event were Mr. Danjuma Mika’il Dauda, Director, Maritime Safety and Security Federal Ministry of Transportation; Mrs. Aisha Salisu of the NIMASA NSDP Team and Prof. Alsnosy Balbaa, Coordinator of the African and Asian affairs of the Arab Academy who tutored the NSDP students.
The NSDP initiative was floated by NIMASA in 2008 to curb the dearth of trained and certified seafarers in the country which was identified as an impediment to Nigeria’s robust participation in the global shipping business. It is expected that the programme would bridge the knowledge gap and enhance the economic benefit of the sector as well as place the country in the league of advanced maritime nations.