The Minister of Transportation, Hon. Chibuike Amaechi, has flagged off the third phase of the Nigerian Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP-3) and urged the 200 cadets’ participants to be of good behaviour and represent Nigeria well.
The NSDP is an interventionist programme initiated to address the dearth of trained and certified seafarers in the Nigerian maritime industry. More than 2, 000 Nigerians have been trained under the NSDP since its commencement in 2009.
Amaechi disclosed this during the flag-off ceremony organised by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) in Lagos while commending the resilience of NIMASA in ensuring the success and expansion of the programme since its commencement in 2009.
“The persistence of NIMASA in ensuring the success of this programme is commendable, but I would like the agency to include more local training institutions that meet the standards for the training.
“You have to study and pass your exams. There are so many youths who want this opportunity that you have. It means that you must show NIMASA that they did not make any mistake in choosing you.
“For those who are leaving, please, do not embarrass the country. You are not just ambassadors of NIMASA; you are ambassadors of Nigeria. You have to be of uttermost good behaviour.
“After training, some of you will be hired overseas. The ones that are not hired overseas, please, come back to the country. This country is changing in time. You will see the changes as you come. It won’t be easy, it’s difficult, but the changes are coming gradually,” he said.
The minister encouraged those who might not get the opportunity to be hired overseas at the end of their sea-time training to return home and contribute to national development, seeing as opportunities are gradually opening up for them in Nigeria.
In his address, the NIMASA director-general, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, said the third phase of NSDP has addressed many of the challenges encountered in the previous stages of the programme.
Jamoh stated that the agency is working on signing 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 programme.
“To prepare ourselves for the coming opportunities, the agency will make concerted efforts to sign bi-lateral agreements of mutual recognition of Certificate of Competency to open opportunities for Nigerian seafarers to work abroad.
“With this latest phase, the country is set for better, more innovative maritime manpower development experience.
“We are working with industry experts to ensure that our Maritime Education and Training (MET) meets international standards.
“NSDP-3 takes our maritime manpower development strategy to the next level. It is a complete package, which offers the cadets everything they need to qualify as seafarers, from shore-based training to sea-time training and attainment of Certificate of Competency (CoC),” he stated.
On the issue of international recognition of Nigerian CoCs, the chairman, board of NIMASA, Asita Honourable Asita, extolled the impact of the NSDP in the country’s maritime sector. Asita encouraged the cadets to be good examples and [source of] encourage for other youths in the country.
Earlier, in his goodwill message, the former NIMASA director-general, Dr. Ade Dosunmu, expressed delight at the pace of implementation of NSDP by the Jamoh-led management.
Dosunmu 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. Dosunmu went ahead to applaud Amaechi for providing purposeful leadership in the maritime sector.
“The sector has witnessed unprecedented growth since you became minister. The removal of wrecks in our waters has commenced, piracy has reduced drastically; I commend this administration,” he said.
Similarly, the managing director, Charkin Maritime Academy, Sir Charles Wami, called for more partnership among indigenous maritime institutions on sea-time training. Wami advised the cadets to be disciplined and assured them of success.
“On-board a ship, cadets are not supposed to be heard but seen. As long as the sea never dries, there will be jobs for you as mariners. This profession is one that you can be proud of,” he added.