No fewer than 130 cadets under the Nigerian Seafarers Development Programme NSDP have graduated from the Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport, Alexandria, Egypt.

Meanwhile, the Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport, Alexandria, has offered slots to the graduating cadets for their 12-month sea time training on board ocean going vessels as prescribed by the International Maritime Organisation IMO, which would lead to the award of Certificate of Competence COC, recognised and accepted in terms of employment everywhere in the world.

The NSDP is a capacity building initiative of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency NIMASA, under which it projects to train over 5,000 seamen to bridge the human capital gap both for the local industry and the global seafarers market.

The successful completion of the training of these 130 cadets has further increased the pool of Seafarers in the country, especially those trained under this initiative, bringing to a total number of 1,045 graduates from the NSDP project, which represents 42 per cent graduates of the over 2,500 cadets fully sponsored by NIMASA under the programme, in the last six years or thereabout.

Director General of the agency, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, who made this disclosure at the official graduation ceremony in Egypt, said that NIMASA has so far sponsored over 2,500 cadets to the best maritime training institutions around the world including Egypt, Romania, the Philippines, United Kingdom and India.

According to him, achieving this feat within a short period of time is part of the demonstration of the commitment of the agency to build adequate human capacity for the local industry and also for export to the international market to bridge the supply gap.

A breakdown of the statistics of the trained cadets show that a total of 226 cadets graduated from the Arab Academy in Egypt, 76 from South Tyneside, Newcastle, United Kingdom while 743 graduated from various partner Universities in the Philippines.

The Director General who was represented at the event by the Executive Director of the agency in charge of Maritime Labour and Cabotage Services, Mr. Gambo Ahmed congratulated the cadets for having to bag their degrees in various maritime related disciplines ranging from Marine Transport and Logistics, Nautical Engineering, among others and enjoined them to bring to bear the knowledge they have acquired to bear not on the fortunes of Nigeria’s maritime industry but also the global shipping arena.

The Director General further disclosed that the school has offered to partner with NIMASA in providing sea time training for the graduating students and other NSDP cadets from other schools, which has hitherto been a challenge.

“This would further complement the NIMASA’s efforts in getting sea time training for graduate cadets and the agency also exploring other avenues to enrich the NSDP programme because the impact of the programme would be felt world over”, the DG said.

Dr. Peterside further argued that Nigeria would soon begin to export seafarers like the Philippines and other reputable maritime nations, adding that this would in no small measure reduce the problem of unemployment in the country and attract the much needed foreign exchange since the Nigerian cadets would repatriate part of their wages home and also pay tax to the government.

The graduating cadets, who were full of appreciation to the agency for the opportunity granted them to excel , pledged to deploy the knowledge acquired to enhance the growth of Nigeria’s maritime industry.

Coordinator of NSDP scheme, Mr. Victor Egejuru, who is a Deputy Director in the Maritime Labour department of the agency, enjoined the youths to also be grateful to the Federal Government, especially President Muhammadu Buhari and nagement of NIMASA for the opportunity given to them to progress in their chosen career and in growing capacity in the maritime industry.

Also present at the graduation ceremony were Mr. Danjuma Mika’il -Dauda, Director, Maritime Safety and Security Federal Ministry of Transport, Mrs. Aisha Salisu of the NIMASA NSDP team and Prof. Alsnosy Balbaa, coordinator of the African and Asian affairs of the Arab Academy who tutored the NSDP students, among others.

The NSDP initiative was floated by NIMASA in 2008 to address the dearth of trained and certified seafarers in the country which was identified as one of the impediment to the growth and development not only of Nigeria’s shipping industry but also across the globe.