NIMASA DG ranks Nigerian seafarers among world best
By Silas Onuoha
The Governor of Delta State, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa has said that effectiveness of Nigeria’s economy depends largely on the maritime sector, as over 90 per cent of the world trades are transported through the sea.
Senator Okowa made this remarks in his keynote address at the 2018 Day of Seafarers celebration with the theme; ‘seafarers’ wellbeing’ organised by NIMASA, in Warri, Delta State.
Other maritime Agencies also commended NIMASA for its efforts and determination to ensure that Nigeria is reckoned with, in the international maritime domain.
The Governor who was represented by his Deputy, Barrister Kingsley Otuaro further applauded the initiative of establishing Nigerian Maritime University, NMU, which is the first specialised institution in Africa. He expressed readiness of the State to partner NIMASA in actualising the vision behind the establishment this University.
He stressed, “As a State, we are prepared to support and partner NIMASA and the Federal Government to ensure that the underlying motive for establishing the Maritime University is achieved. We are also certain that the University undoubtedly will be a source of training more seafarers and adding more commercial value to our economy”.
In his welcome remarks, the Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside noted that Nigerian seafarers rank among the best in the world and can favourably compete with their foreign counterparts.
The DG said, “This is why the Agency in the past few years embarked on training and retraining of Nigerian Seafarers and Cadets in specialised maritime courses both locally and internationally. This aims at enhancing their competences and employability”.
Peterside reiterated the Agency’s commitment to ensure a better living condition for seafarers, in line with International Labour Organisation’s, ILO.
He also highlighted the importance of ILO’s Maritime Labour Convention, MLC, 2006 that Nigeria ratified in 2013. He stated that the Convention made adequate provisions for seafarers’ welfare which if fully implemented will guarantee their wellbeing.
His assertion: “As the competent authority for implementation of all IMO and ILO conventions, NIMASA has diligently commenced the implementation of the convention in Nigeria from the time it entered into force in 2014 till date, through the conduct of port and flag inspections on board vessels operating in our waters.”
While acknowledging the fact that Nigerian seafarers are faced with lots of challenges that are work related, Peterside urged all employers to ensure promotion of ILO’s Decent Work Agenda aims at promoting workers mental health and wellbeing.
Meanwhile, he also stated that as part of the Agency’s commitment to training and retraining of seafarers to enhance professionalism in the sector, NIMASA has so far trained over 2000 cadets under the Nigerian Seafarers Development Programme, NSDP. This is in addition to those who have already done their mandatory sea time training. 500 have been earmarked for sea time training in 2018 while another 500 will undergo the training in 2019.
Peterside pointed out, “150 fresh cadets will benefit from the programme under NSDP, which will commence next academic session. The Agency in May this year facilitated the training of 370 Nigerian seafarers in relevant courses leading to certifications on Standards of Training Certifications, STCW, Oil Tanker Familiarisation, Security Awareness, ISPS Code, Proficiency in Survival Craft and Rescue Boats, PSCRB and Dynamic Positioning.
“Another 560 Dockworkers benefited from the training on Occupational Safety and Health, developed in line with ILO’s code of practice OSH. All these are geared toward realising a robust maritime sector, in line with international regulations.”
At the programme, the President General, Maritime Workers Union, MWUN, represented by the Secretary General, Comrade Felix Akingboye, the Chairman, Ports Consultative Council, Otunba Kunle Folarin, President of the Seamen and Water Transport Branch of the Maritime Workers’ Union, Comrade Francis Bunu and other stakeholders unanimously commended NIMASA for its efforts in ensuring that the welfare of seafarers is given proper consideration.
Thus, the Day of the seafarers is a day celebrated all over the world on June 25 yearly, following the resolution adopted by the 2010 diplomatic conference in Manila, Philippines to adopt the STCW Convention.