Mr. Ruslan Gromovenko is the Chief Executive Officer of Lerus Group, a multinational company involved in maritime safety and trainings, especially for cadets.
In this exclusive interview session with Nigeriamaritime360.com, Gromovenko said a MoU between NIMASA and Lerus Group was signed by both parties in February 2019. He said the agreement is to issue sea term to 100 Nigerian cadets. Our correspondent, ZION Olalekan brings you the excerpts.
Good afternoon, this is a team of reporters from Nigeriamaritime360, we would like to meet you sir.
My name is Ruslan Gromovenko
Okay Sir, you are the CEO of Lerus Group?
And you’re involved globally in maritime safety trainings?
How many years have you been doing this?
Why did you choose to conduct safety and training for seafarers, could it be because of the situations in the industry?
I am an ex-seafarer, so I am actually coming right from Industry fields with all those Safety Requirements being on my shoulders and I felt a very big gap between what I learned and what is required.
Is there any abuse of safety precautions in the industry and do you have instances of such?
Yes of course , and usually, it is coming from top managers, they supposed to have level 1,2,3,4,5 safety trainings for staff, but surprisingly, many of them have already missed these training for many different reasons and will not be able to meet industry standards and requirements in the nearest future. Again, many people miss these training due to different reasons such as Planned Vacation, Personal Reason, Family Reason, Medical leave, kids, etc.
Why do top managers miss these trainings? They must think training isn’t necessary or important enough for their jobs
I am right now trying to arrange Working at Heights and rescue from Heights for a crew from another City by a Manager from another part of the world located in Philippines – it’s actually in Cebu, but Charters requirements are on top and all of us have no choice and to be connected all together and finally crew should pass and return home safely
Isn’t there a global body or association that enforces these safety precautions?
There is no body to ensure that all seafarers get trained about safety. At different levels, different vessel types are involved in different operations as well as different Safety Associations.
Is there a data of the number of seamen who have lost their lives to safety failures in the last 10 years?
There are many databases, and of course all related to different industries: like trading fleet (bulk, passenger, container, tanker vessel) connected to IMO database and ITF database, rather than offshore vessels are mostly connected to IMCA Injuries database.
Vessels involved in Wind and Energy Industry are mostly connected to IMCA and GWO (Global Wind Organization) database and actually GWO is one of the most powerful drivers of Working at Height and Rescue Training as Mandatory due to Specific operations.
Have you been involved with maritime safety operations in Nigeria?
Yes, our company proposed a Sea time Project for cadets of Maritime Academies who haven’t had a single day on board a vessel and actually appeared unable to apply for Certificate of Competency. (CoC)
What was the proposal about and how will the maritime academy graduates benefit from it? The only rule to get Certificate of Competency is to graduate from a Maritime School and spend 12 months at Sea. The Proposal is to deliver 12 months Sea Time training for cadets and refresh all theoretical knowledge right before Examination.
Examination will consist Theory and Practice, so both aspects will be very fresh and I am more than sure Nigerian cadets will pass all together since they wish to become marine officers.
We understand that the Certificate of Competency issued to Nigerian cadets is not recognised internationally?
That is correct, since Nigeria is NOT in the White List of IMO
So how can that be changed. What can your company do; and what should the maritime authorities in Nigeria do to change this situation?
How can it be changed? Well, there should be transparency in NIMASA, the authorities should engage international employees from top Maritime countries in the system, to tap into their experience and help to reorganize the Nigerian system, and also prepare the institution for International Audit by IMO. If this is done, I am sure in that in one year, the picture can be changed.
Will your training of the cadets, guarantee them (Nigerian cadets) acceptability by foreign vessel operators?
Yes, because the Certificate of Competence (CoC) will not be issued in Nigeria, the CoC would be issued in one of the Maritime Administrations in the IMO White List, which means it would be recognised worldwide.
So NIMASA has to be audited by IMO?
Would this take a long-time to achieve?
That depends on what you have and the attendant challenges to change the situation. For example, the traffic to Apapa, Parking lots at the NIMASA building, the NIMASA Building structures itself – including those guys with fan in the elevators. All floors in NIMASA building – everything, should be upgraded.
The very first sentence in the IMO Audit Report must create a good general impression of the institution and of the team running it.
So what will your proposal to NIMASA about the graduate training achieve?
Our Proposal to NIMASA to start with, will place a first batch of 100 cadets on-board vessels, then once all are placed, the cadets themselves will expose their experience to the maritime industry in Nigeria and the world. Our objective is to employ the first batch of Nigerian cadets on board international flagged vessels.
The proposal is approved already; the MoU between NIMASA and Lerus Group was signed by both parties in February 2019.
What qualifies a cadet for the training, how are they shortlisted?
About the cadet training, I know that there are 50 deck and 50 engine cadets qualified in the list and all of them graduated from Maritime Academy in Cebu, Philippines.
What about the issue of Piracy and the hefty fines Nigeria importers are forced to make?
Well, it’s really not my area, I am experienced as a sailor in Nigeria and there was nothing like Safety, starting from Anchorage until departing from Lagos. There is a huge gap in Security and it’s probably the main reason for the hefty fines.
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