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WMD: FG mulls adequate sea time opportunities for Nigerian seamen  

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Abiola Seun

The Federal Government is committed to ensuring that Nigerian cadets undergo adequate sea time training to enable them become gainfully employed in the nation’s shipping sector, Rotimi Amaechi, minister of transportation, has said.

Speaking in Lagos on Thursday at the 2021 World Maritime Day (WMD) celebration, organised by the Federal Ministry of Transportation, with the theme, ‘Seafarers: At the Core of Shipping’s Future’ Amaechi said the National Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP) would be strengthened to engage with reputable shipping companies for the benefit of Nigerian seamen.

According to him, the NSDP programme sponsored by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), has over 7,000 seafarers on the Nigerian Seafarers Register, and more attention would be given to seafarers’ specialised training to enable them perform expert tasks in their various fields of engagement on board vessels.

“Seafaring has evolved over the years from apprenticeship to specialised and rigorous nautical education, necessitated by digitalisation and the development of modern, technologically advanced vessels.

“The world is in short supply of qualified seafarers today and the rapid rise in digital technology and automation mean that one of the world’s oldest professions is set to change more in the next couple of years,” he said.
Bashir Jamoh, Director- General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) said the agency would continue to pay priority attention to the capacity development and employment of Nigerian seafarers.
He said NIMASA has introduced Seafarers Identity Documents (SID) registration portal and other e-platform for dockworkers and their employers to ease registration and verification process in line with international best practices.
He assured the nation’s maritime community that Nigerian seafarers will remain at the core of all of the agency’s policy and decision making in all matters of shipping.
According to him, the role of NIMASA as a regulatory agency is to ensure Nigerian seafarers are treated fairly by shipowners and employers through the implementation of approved conditions of service and collective bargaining agreements.
Tajudeen Alao, a foremost master mariner, pleaded with the Federal Government to bring back the proceeds of the Cabotage Vessel Financing Funds (CVFF) to enable Nigerian ship owners to either get or charter standard vessels that can employ Nigerian seafarers.
“We have cargoes without ships and Nigeria cannot become a maritime hub without bunker ships,” he said.
“If government can give us more ships, we will be able to support more seafarers by training them, giving them sea time opportunity and better employment,” said MkGeorge Onyung, president of Ship Owners Association of Nigeria (SOAN)

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