The Director General, Nigeria Maritime Administration Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr Bashir Jamoh on Saturday said Nigeria will be among major players In the Global Maritime Sector with the flag off of Nigerian Seafarers’ Development Programme (NSDP).
Jamoh said this at the flag off ceremony of third phase of Nigerian Seafarers’ Development Programme (NSDP-TERRA).
The DG said the ceremony marks another milestone on the human capacity development drive of the maritime industry as championed by NIMASA.
“The Honourable Minister may respectfully recall that the Agency in fulfilling one of its core functions in the area of Maritime Capacity Building in 2008 initiated the NSDP with the sole mandate of training Nigerian youths to become seafarers and Naval Architects.
“It was noted that the number of Nigerian seafarers on ocean going vessels as at then had depleted over the years and the urgent need to boost it adequately for effective implementation of the coastal and inland shipping policy of the Government, informed the initiative.
“At some point, it was said that Nigeria had less than ten (10) Seafarers on ocean going vessels, while countries like the Philippines had over Four hundred thousand (400,000), and currently earn over Six billion U.S dollars ($6,000,000,000.00) in forex inflow from their seafarers employed around the world.
“Countries like India, Indonesia and China also have their nationals all around the world working in the maritime industries. It is hoped that with continuous progress made and better projections in the NSDP, Nigeria will soon be among the major players in the global maritime sector,” he said.
He added that the programme was designed to train Nigerian youths up to Degree level in Marine Engineering, Nautical Sciences and Naval Architecture in some of the best Maritime Training Institutions (MTIs) abroad and to position them to compete effectively in the global Maritime Industry.
Jamoh noted that the programme had from inception, enrolled 2,041 students, while 892 are now licensed deck and engine officers including Naval Architects, the rest are in their final stage of the programme.
He said about 486 of the graduates are now gainfully employed and sailing in both coastal and ocean going vessels.
“The Agency and the Federal Ministry of Transportation (FMOT) satisfied with the above success and the need to drive the policy of the Federal Government on youths empowerment to a laudable height approved the expansion of the programme by 435 new intakes (christened NSDP TERRA).
“While implementing this, we took into account of the encumbrances encountered in the operations of the programme in the last 12 years and ways of eliminating or minimising them.
“These include: Consideration of a recruitment plan that selects the best candidates into the NSDP, Spreading beneficiaries across the six geopolitical zones of Nigeria, introducing a conduct of conduct for all beneficiaries enrolled into the programme to safeguard the image of the country.
“Also included are; Selection of Maritime Training Institutions (MTIs) that offers the three training elements of the programme (shore-based training, shipboard training and the certificate of competency), this is to eliminate the long delay in securing sea time training berths that was experienced with the previous set of students,” he said.
The DG said NIMASA comparatively got the most reasonable cost for the training and in countries of mutual recognition of CoC with Nigeria.
He said the agency has recruited 400 new students into the programme and secured admission in two reputable MTIs in Greece and India.
“The flag off ceremony of third phase of NSDP programme for the first batch was held on Friday, 29th October, 2021 at 81, Division Officer’s Mess, Onikan Lagos.
“The development was acknowledged and applauded by the then Hon. Minister of Transport and other maritime stakeholders during the flag off ceremony.
“It is our delight to inform you that some of the students are already in school and are doing very well while others are being prepared to travel.
“The past decade has witnessed an increase in the global trading fleet, partly on account of developments in Asia and other emerging opportunities,” he said.
Jamoh said demand for seafarers in Nigeria has also increased on account of the Cabotage regime which requires that vessel engaged in commercial trade and operations in the coastal and inland waters in Nigeria should be manned by Nigerians.
He said the expanding opportunities provided by the Liquefied Natural Gas projects have also been a major boost for manpower demand of the sector.
“With prospects for the commencement of operations of the Brass LNG, the expansion of the NLNG trains and the Olokola Gas project, manpower demand for that sector has doubled the existing number.
“Another prospect is the growing off-shore oil exploration and production activities, which have increased the vessel requirements to meet demand in the sector.
“Other areas with significant prospects include the fishing sector, the manning of inland waterway crafts and coastal tankers,” he said.
The DG said the prospects for the future of the Nigerian shipping industry remain very bright in spite of the manpower constraints.
“It is our hope that the NSDP scheme will in the long run increase the pool of Nigerian seafarers for export to other Countries.
“To our youthful cadets, as you set sail, we make but only one demand of you that you never lose sight of the mission of this voyage.
“Avoid the foreign distractions that can cause a shipwreck to your budding careers and dedicate yourselves to the completion of your education so that your country’s huge investment will not be in vain,” he said.