By Nwangwu Uba
The National Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, has finally signed a Memorandum of Understanding, MOU, with the Maritime Academy of the Asian country of India, after several weeks of negotiation for on board sea time training arrangement for Nigerian seafarers.
The Value News learnt that the Agency had earlier approached some other maritime nations which have established Maritime Academies and good number of ocean going vessels, to accept the retraining of the nation’s Cadets who have undergone the Seafares programme but only India was said to have agreed to train the Cadets in their own Academy without any conditions attached.
Unconfirmed report said the apex Maritime Regulatory
Dakuku Peterside, the Agency Director General, NIMASA, who could not hide his joy over the deal while signing the MOU, with his Indian counterpart, Neeraj Kumar, Managing Director, TMC Shipping Pvt limited in Lagos, Nigeria, maintained that the Agency, , was committed, to closely working together with international Maritime Institutions for sea time training of Cadets under the Nigeria’s Seafarers Development Programme, NSDP.
Many people believe that the signing of the MOU, may have been facilitated by the recent effort put in by the Agency Search and Rescue team in saving , an India Company. ORCIV Fishing and Food Processing Company limited vessel, worth millions of dollars from sinking.
For a start, the deal which is expected to cover the training of 60 Cadets in three batches of 20 each was said to have taken ff. The NIMASA boss noted that since the India Maritime Academy has taken over the responsibility of training the 60 Cadets, it would reduce the amount of money spent on the Cadets awaiting sea time by clearing up the first 60 of the backlog in three batches of 20 each.
Maritime watchers see the 20 Cadet trainees in the Indian Maritime Academy under the first batch of the NSDP arrangement with the Academy as being very lucky. It was not surprising why Peterside, the NIMASA boss, while signing the agreement with the Institution Representative in Nigeria, had tasked the Cadets to be ”dedicated , disciplined and committed to making the best use of the opportunity to develop themselves to contribute to the country’s maritime development.
An elated NIMASA Director General , may have put smiles on the face of the Cadets when he expressed his happiness over the international training programme. ” We are proud that Nigerian Cadets will be joining the global merchant fleets”, he had said. He enjoined them to ”represent Nigeria well and not to do anything that would tarnish the image of the country”.
The NIMASA assured the lucky 20 Cadets on the first batch of the training programme that the Agency will not rest on its oars until the two other batches of 20 Cadets each proceed on their own sea time training in the Academy. ”We are working hard to provide sea time training for all Cadets that have gone through the Agency NSDP programme”’, he further said.
In spite of the financial constraint of the Agency to meet the backlog of Cadets that need the support of the Agency to provide them with sea time training , the Rivers state born Director General, NIMASA, has expressed his determination to ”explore and use appropriate revenues generated to ensure that Nigerian Seafarers got the right exposure to excel in the global maritime space.
The one-time governorship Candidate of the All Progressive Congress , APC, in the oil rich state is optimistic , that with the international sea time training arrangement being arranged for the country’s Cadets, in the near future ” Nigeria would be one of the leading suppliers of qualified Seafarers to the rest of the world. Note that the Asian country of Philippine are already doing so, thus generating much revenue for the country. In the West African sub-region, Sierra Leone appears to have filled the vacuum of supplying qualified Seafarers for merchant vessels .
It also hopes to go into partnership with international institutions that have access to ocean training vessels that may be interested.
Note that prior to the current arrangement with India Maritime Academy, NIMASA , alone was said to have taken up the full responsibility of sponsoring the first batch of Cadets under the programme, which was facilitated by the Arab Academy of Science, Technology and Marine Transportation in Alexaderia, Egypt.
the South Tyneside College, UK was also said to have assisted in no small measure in the on board sea time training. The Agency was also said to have taken advantage of its close relationship with some Universities in Philippines, to go into partnership with them , resulting in the training of many Nigerian Cadets in the past.