By Aisha Cole
Lagos – The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) is into a new partnership with the South Shield Marine School at the South Tyneside College, South Shield, Newcastle, UK. on sea time training.
The Head, Corporate Communications of NIMASA, Mr Isichei Osamgbi, said this on Friday in Lagos.
Osambgi said this the Principal/Head of the school, Mr Gary Hindmarch, while briefing the the Director-General of NIMASA, Dr Dakuku Peterside, said the school was in partnership with reputable shipping agencies and organizations who were major global players to place cadets on board vessels across the globe.
Hindmarch said this was a scheme the school authorities had been using to provide sea time opportunities for their students over many decades of the existence of the institution.
According to him, the sea time will provide the Nigerian youths the required opportunity to complete that aspect of their studies and leading to the completion of their final course works to enable them graduate fully and qualify to be seafarers.
He described Nigerian students as “brilliant’’, saying that the “performance recorded each year shows that the Nigerian students are the highest ethnic group with success at 84 to 95 per cent over the past five years and always above the college’s average’’.
“ With a high number of female students at 16 per cent, when compared to other foreign nationals.
“The Nigerians are good students who are very committed to their studies, with great performance, which they have maintained for over five years since they have been at this institution.
“If there is to be a league table for the academic performance here, the Nigerian students would be top of the table for five years above other nationals studying in the Maritime School,’’ Hindmarch said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the partnership would provide sea time opportunities for about 400 cadets of the NIMASA-sponsored Nigerian Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP).
NAN learnt that the institution which has so far about 502 Nigerian students being trained in various fields in marine Engineering and Nautical Science, among others, had about 326 students due for sea time.
Sea time training is a mandatory requirement to go on board a ship for a period of one year or more on ocean going vessels, before the cadets are qualified for the award of a maritime degree.
NAN also reports that about 2,500 Nigerian youths are beneficiaries of the NIMASA NSDP scheme.
The sea time model is similar to that already being provided by the Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport in Alexandria, Egypt, wherein the sea time is imbedded in the programme.
Peterside said that “The new arrangement will not only provide the Nigerian youths the chance of completing their training as seafarers but it will equally provide additional window for other NSDP cadets from other institutions.’’
While applauding the students for their good performance, the director-general further urged the students to continue to be of good behaviour.
Peterside said the management was determined to help the students complete their studies in earnest and “that the sea time partnership with the institution will help achieve that’’
A representative of the students, Mr Nnabugwu Akobundu, addressed the director-general and NIMASA delegation which also included Mr Dikko Bala, Nigeria’s Alternate Permanent Representative to the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and Mr Victor Egejuru, Coordinator of the NSDP.
He said, “through these stages of the programme, NIMASA took full responsibility for our tuition and welfare. We are grateful to you and may we also request you to extend our appreciation and well wishes to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari.’’
“We join our compatriots to pray for him”.
Also on his part, Mr Adeleye Femi, one of the students, who spoke, applauded the Federal Government and the NIMASA Management for their efforts.
Femi said, “The programme aims to equip us with the knowledge of the maritime industry, to bridge the gap of the dearth of maritime workers.’’
He said all the students were also putting in their best to go in line with the aim of the agency.
“We hope the agency (NIMASA) will not relent in its efforts to fulfil the desired goal of the program,’’ Femi said.