The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), has restated its commitment towards Seafarers training and certification in Nigeria.
The agency made this known to newsmen during a 3-day All Nigerian Maritime Journalists Retreat organised by the Association of Maritime Journalists of Nigeria (AMJON) with the theme; ‘Increasing Investment Opportunities in Nigeria’s Rich Maritime and Oil & Gas Sectors’ held in Lagos recently.
Speaking at the event, the Assistant Director, Engineering Survey, Mr. Ike Patrick who represented the Director-General, NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside said proper training and certification for seafarers was the only way they could man the vessel under difficult situations.
“We can develop the best technologies, build the best ships but without the seafarers who man these vessels under difficult conditions, our efforts will be in vain”, he said.
He also explained that International Maritime Organisation saw the aspect of human element in shipping as important to the survival of the shipping sector.
“It is therefore no wonder that proper training and certification of the men and women in whose hands world trade relies on could be given the pride of place by IMO.
“This is corroborated by the fact that experience gained from the investigation into notable marine disasters, casualties and accidents over the years has proven repeatedly that the safe operation of ships can only be guaranteed when vessels are well designed, constructed, properly equipped and competently manned”, he said.
On the other hand, Patrick pointed out that increasing forgeries by unscrupulous people has been compromising the integrity and standard of Nigerian Seafarers Certificate of Competency (CoC).
“In order to deal decisively with this problem, the Agency has established an online portal backed up with genuine seafarers certificate database to enable employers in the shipping industry and other maritime administrations verify the authenticity of Nigerian CoCs online from any part of the world, “Patrick said.
On manpower capacity building, he posited that NIMASA has also initiated the National Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP) towards addressing the shortage of indigenous seafarers in the country’s maritime sector.
“This is aimed at developing indigenous maritime manpower capacity to meet the needs of the Cabotage regime and enhance the contributions of seafarers to the Nigerian economy, “he said.
Patrick, however, averred that the industry was facing challenges due to the shortage of trained indigenous seafarers to meet up with the demands of international shipping and and manning requirements of vessels in Nigeria as prescribed by the provisions of the Cabotage Act.
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