By; RAYMOND TEDUNJAYE, Lagos.
The Director General of Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA),Dr Dakuku Peterside has disclosed that Nigeria is on her way to export seafarers to work on foreign vessels by sponsoring sea time training for maritime graduates .
Peterside said this in Port Harcourt while on tour with members of the Board of NIMASA who were on facilities tour of the agency and addressed workers in Rivers and Delta States.
He said NIMASA is set to facilitate sea time training for graduates of government scholarship under the National Seafarers Development Scheme (NSDP) who got trained at home and abroad.
According to Peterside, about 2900 graduates of the NSDP programme will be assisted to get trained on ships for their mandatory sea time as this is the only way to make their certificates useful for securing employment.
He said NIMASA have concluded arrangement for the first batch to be sponsored to expand their chances for job placement adding that their certificates of maritime training will be worthless without the sea time training
”If you hold a certificate from any maritime training institution anywhere in the world without the sea time training and requisite CoC(Certificate of Competency), such certificate becomes a worthless piece of document”,the Agency boss hinted.
”We have made adequate provision for the sea time training in our 2017 budget proposal. Many people acquired degrees in Philippines, Malaysia ,Norway and other countries. The challenge all along has been lack of sea time training. We have initiated the process. Any moment from now we will be sending the first batch to go for their sea time training”
” We are working to ensure that these 2900 youths get the sea time training and their CoC so that they can work onboard foreign going vessels.”
”We want to be like the Philippines, who earn more from exporting seafarers than we earn from oil. The average seafarer earns $1000 daily. In a month, they earn an average of $30,000. I don’t earn up to that”
”This will not only create opportunities for world standard jobs for these Nigerian youths, it will also contribute in bringing the desired foreign exchange into our country”
NIMASA, according to him, is working to see that the 2900 youths sent to training in various parts of the world get the practical experience that will guarantee international standard employments and boost earnings for the country.
Lack of the sea time training, which is a mandatory International Maritime Organization (IMO) requirement for trained personnel before they can get employed on sea going vessels, has kept thousands of Nigerian maritime graduates jobless.
This development have frustrated many who had graduated from Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron over 7 years ago and have caused thousands of youths not to reap the benefits of Federal Government scholarships under the aegis of NSDP.
The training is in conformity with popular Manila Convention otherwise called Standards of Training Certification and Watch-keeping (STCW)
A survey conducted by The Journal of Freight & Energy indicates that over ninety six percent of graduate Nigerian youths cannot afford the cost of the sea time training and may idle away in joblessness if not assisted.