By Stephen Ubanna
Not may are surprised that between March, 2020 and now, Bashir Jamoh, OFR, Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, and his Management team have continued to develop training preprogrammes Workshops, and initiate policies to I prove the quality of training and Certification as well as remuneration for the country’s Seafarers.
An insider told The Value News that from the onset, the NIMASA Director General had made it clear to the Seafarers that there was no cause for them to worry any longer as there are policies in the pipeline to improve the quality of their training and the Certificates given to them that would make them to compete favourably with the foreign Seafarers in other maritime nations.
He was said to have made them to understand that that the agency has taken steps to standardise the curriculum of its training institutions in line with international standards and organising training workshops to further expose them to the nitty gritty of the job by getting experts to speak to them.
Only recently, the agency had organised an enlightenment workshop for the seafarers and other industry stakeholders in Lagos, the nation’s Commercial nerve centre on ‘’Seafarers Medical Certification and other related issues concerning the health of the local Seafarers’’.
Jamoh, the NIMASA, Chief Executive Officer, CEO, who was said to have been represented at the event by one Hamisu Gambo, Head, Administration and Human Resources Department, had made the participants to understand that ‘’the safety of seafarers lay at heart of an efficient and productive maritime sector in the global economy.
He was emphatic that ‘’ the safety and well-being of seafarers is paramount in ensuring the smooth operations and success of the country’s maritime industry and other maritime nations’’. It was not surprising why he had said that that ‘’the ability to maintain high medical standards and
certifications is not only a legal requirement but crucial to safeguarding the lives of those who dedicate their seafarers to sea’’.
Gambo, the NIMASA , Head of Administration and Human Resources Department , may have spoken mind the mind of the agency CEO, when he disclosed that the event had been organised ‘’to ensure that shipowners , both local the indigenous and foreign, Worker Unions, Employers of Labour and other industry stakeholders were well informed on the issue of the seafarers’ medical certification’’.
Hear him: this Workshop has been meticulously curated to address the pressing concerns faced by rejection of the medical certificates issued to the Nigerian Seafarers by some Organisations and to equip all with the knowledge and tools needed to mee the stringent medical requirements set forth by international maritime authorities. He may have alluded to the international maritime Organisation, IMO, a United Nations, UN, maritime agency under the close watch of Kitack Lim and who is expected to be replace by Arsenio Dominguez of the North American country of Panama on January 1, 2024.
A statement issued by Edward Osagie, an Assistant Director, and the maritime regulatory agency spokesperson had confirmed that some of the topics discussed at the all-important seafarers Workshop included a Comprehensive Overview of the Medical Fitness, Standards and Guidelines , Updates on the Latest Medical Advancements and Understandings of the Medical Examination Process for seafarers which was very revealing. Edward, the NIMASA, spokesperson, had said also that at the Workshop ‘’medical screening forms, plagues and certificates were freely distributed to the approved medical doctors to aid their screening of the seafarers’’.
Osagie, the NIMASA, Image maker, who could not hide his feelings had said that the screening forms which were distributed to the approved doctors for the screening of the seafarers should serve as an opportunity for ‘’networking among the medical personnel and the maritime PR actioners’.
The importance attached to the Seafarers towards the development of the global maritime economy may have informed why the IMO, had marked June 25 every year worldwide to celebrate the Seafarers, described as’’ keyworkers’’ and to recognise their invaluable contribution to the global maritime sector’’.
Maritime analysts believe that the world cannot do without the Seafarers who are key to humanity survival because they accompany ocean-going vessels to traverse the nooks and crannies of the world to carry cargoes from one country to the other, even during the Asian country of China emerged deadly Corona virus pandemic, popular, COVID 19.
They noted that they see their handwork every day and everywhere in lifting agricultural machinery, the food people eat and the unbroken run of the manufacturing base in the global economy, despite the lockdown. Recall that at the heat of the global lockdown, the Seafarers had faced stringent work conditions in several countries, government restrictions, particular, Crew change difficulties, fatigue and sickness and disruption of contracts, particular, in China.
It was no record that during the global lockdown, NIMASA, was the first Maritime Administration in the world to take steps to alleviate the sufferings of the Seafarers by declaring the them as being on essential duty which was said to have been published on the agency marine notice for the international shipping community to see and digest and change their aggressive attitudes towards them.
The implications of the Jamoh led NIMASA bold policy initiatives shows that it was not today, that the agency had started making moves to improve the welfare of the Seafarers. Vintage Jamoh.