By Stephen Ubanna
Between 2020 and now, Bashir Jamoh, the Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, has been more concerned on how to improve the quality of training , Certification and remuneration of the country Seafarers to compete with their Counterparts in other part of the world.
As a prelude to ensuring that Nigerian Seafarers compete with their Foreign counterparts, Jamoh led Management of NIMASA, has taken stepsto standardise the Curriculum of the training institutions offering Maritime Coursees in line with international standards
This may have informed why the NIMASA, Chief Executive Officer, CEO, over the last one year, had intensified the training and Certification of the country’s Seafarers to enhance the country’s position in the increasingly competitive global maritime economy.Given that hundreds of Seafarers have obtained the Certificate of Competency, CoC, under the agency Seafarers Development Programme, NSDP, may have encouraged Jamoh, the NIMASA Chief Executive Officer, CEO, and his officials to look for sea training and job placements for the cadets.
Only recently,Rotimi Amaechi, a former governor of Rivers state and minister of Transportation,had flagged off the third phase of the NSDP, in Lagos, the nation’s Commercial nerve center.During the flag-off ceremony that was said to have been organised by the Maritime Regulatory agency, Amaechi, the minister of Trnsportation, had urged the 200, NSDP-3 cadets to be of ‘‘good behaviour and represent Nigeria well’’ while commending ‘‘the resilience of the agency in ensuring the success and expansion of the programme since its commencement in 2009’’.
‘’The doggedness of NIMASA in ensuring the success of this programme is commendable, but I would like the Agency to include more local training institutions that that had met the standard required for the training of Nigerian Saefarers’’, the minister remarked. Appealing to those who are leaving the shores of Nigeria, he urged them not to embarrass the country. ‘‘You are not just ambassadors of NIMASA, but ambassadors of Nigeria, and therefore must be of utmost good behaviour’’.
Aware that the sea training is another Course entirely, to test the Competence of the Cadets, he advised them, “You have to study and pass your exams’’, noting that ‘‘there are so many other Nigerian Youths who want this opportunity that you have but were not lucky. It means that you must show NIMASA that they did not make any mistake in choosing you” he further remarked.
The former Rivers state governor also had a word of advice for the Seafarers who did not make the list on the sea time training, urging hem‘‘to return home and contribute to national development. He may have gladdened the heart of the seafarers who did not the list of those going for sea time training when he disclosed that the ‘‘opportunities are gradually opening up for them in Nigeria’’. With the implementation of the Cabotage policy that will put more indigenous vessels on the Nigerian waters for coastal trade that would need their services.
For those travelling abroad for the sea time training, he had made them to understand that“after the training, some of them may be hired by the Foreign shipping Companies that had engaged them for the sea time, while others may not. The ministers urged the Cadets that may not be hired by the Foreign shipping Lines to come back to the country’’. He maintained that the Cadets who will return to the country will never regret it as ‘‘the country is changing in time’’. He assured the Seafarers that will return to the country that they will see the changes but admitted It won’t be easy, initially as the changes are coming gradually’’..
Jamoh, the NIMASA, boss, in his Welcome Address had said that ‘‘the third phase of NSDP, tagged ‘’NSDP Tera’’, had addressed many of the challenges encountered in the phases I and II, of the programme. He noted that with the latest phase, of the programme, ‘‘the country will be better for it as a more innovative maritime manpower development country. Hear him: the“NSDP, phase III, will take ‘‘the nation’s maritime manpower development strategy to the next level’’, describing it as a ‘‘complete package, which will offer the cadets everything they needed to qualify as seafarers, from shore-based training, to sea time training, and attainment ofCoC.”
On the issue of international recognition of Nigerian CoCs, he stated that the Agency was working out plans of signing a bilateral agreements with some countries ‘‘to facilitate greater recognition and acceptance of the country’s seafarers as well as optimisation of the benefits of the NSDP’’. An elated NIMASA helmsman, who could not hide his feelings noted that “to prepare Nigerians for the coming opportunities, the Agency will continue to make efforts ‘‘to sign the bi-lateral agreements of mutual recognition of Certificate of Competency to open opportunities for Nigerian seafarers to work abroad’’. He was emphatic“We are working with industry experts to ensure that our Maritime Education and Training (MET) meets international standards.”
Asita Honourable Asita, Chairman, NIMASA, Board of Directors, had, extolled the impact of the NSDP in the country’s maritime sector. The NIMASA Board Chairman encouraged the cadets ‘’to be a good example and encouragement to other youths in the country’’.
Ade Dosunmu, a one- time Director General, NIMASA, in his goodwill message, expressed delight in the pace of implementation of the NSDP by the Jamoh led Management. The agency former Director General emphasised ‘‘the huge economic benefits of the programme, in terms of foreign currency repatriation and employment creation’’, among others, and called for ‘’its sustenance and continued expansion’’.
He commended Amaechi, the minister of Transportation, “for providing purposeful leadership in the nation’s maritime sector’’. According to him, the sector has witnessed unprecedented growth since the former Rivers state governor became the Minister of Transportation since 2015 and date. He cited the removal of wrecks in Nigerian waters which has commenced, and the anti-piracy war which has begun to yield results in all its ramifications.
Sir Charles Wami, the proprietor oc Charkin Maritime Academy, in his goodwill message called for more partnership among indigenous maritime institutions on sea time training. Wami 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’’. He averred that ‘‘as long as the sea never dries, there will be job for Cadets as mariners’’. This profession is one that you can be proud of,” he declared. There were other goodwill messages from other industry stakeholders, including the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas,NLNG, Limited, described as one of the highest employers of seafarers in Nigeria. Even Emmanuel Iheanacho, a retired Merchant Navy Captain and former minister of Interior, was said to have also sent a good will message to NimASA, for successful training of the Nigerian Cadets and ensures that that they have the sea time experience with Local and Foreign shipping Lines.
Edward Osagie, an Assistant Director, and currently overseeing the agency Public Relations Department had made Nigerians to know that the NSDP is an interventionist programme initiated in 2009, ‘‘to address the dearth of trained and certified seafarers in the Nigerian maritime industry’’. The NIMASA, spokesperson had said that ‘‘More than 2, 000 Nigerian Youths have been trained’’ under the NSDP, which is Commendable.