Nigeria’s maritime industry crucial for economic growth, dev,-Gov. Okowa …As DG NIMASA says Nigeria’s seafarers among world’s best
BY FRANCIS EZEM
As a major exporter of crude oil and gas resources and import dependent nation, the efficiency and effectiveness of Nigeria’s economy largely depends on her maritime industry, given that over 90 per cent of the global trade are transported through the sea, says the Governor of Delta State, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa.
The governor, who spoke while delivering a keynote address at the 2018 Day of the Seafarers celebration organised by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency NIMASA, in conjunction with other maritime agencies with the theme; “Seafarers’ wellbeing” held in Warri, Delta State, commended NIMASA for its efforts and determination at ensuring that Nigeria is reckoned with in the global maritime arena.
Represented by the Deputy Governor of the state, Barrister Kingsley Otuaro , Governor Okowa also applauded the decision of the agency to establish the Nigerian Maritime University NMU, Okerenkoko in Warri South Local Government of the state, being the first specialised in the country, expressed the readiness of the state to partner NIMASA in actualising the vision behind its establishment.
“As a State, we are prepared to support and partner NIMASA and the Federal Government of Nigeria to ensure that the underlying motive of 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 Nigeria’s economy” the Governor said.
Meanwhile, Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, who spoke earlier during the event, noted that the Nigerian seafarers ranks among the best in the world and can favourably compete with their foreign counterparts.
According to the DG, this accounts for why the agency in the past few years embarked on the training and retraining of Nigerian seafarers and cadets in specialised maritime courses both locally and abroad, which is aimed at enhancing their competences and employability.
He therefore reiterated the agency’s commitment towards ensuring a better living condition for the seafarers in line with the International Labour Organisation’s ILO Decent Work Agenda, assuring that the agency will continue to make issues concerning the seafarers’ welfare a priority.
He also highlighted the importance of the ILO’s Maritime Labour Convention MLC 2006 which he said Nigerian ratified in 2013, stating that it made adequate provisions for seafarers’ welfare which if fully implemented will also guarantee their wellbeing. “As the competent authority for the 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,” the DG said.
While acknowledging the fact that the Nigerian seafarers are faced with lots of challenges that are work related, Dr. Peterside however urged all employers to ensure the promotion of ILO’s Decent Work Agenda of the ILO, which aims at promoting the workers’ mental health and wellbeing.
Recall that the agency had last month facilitated the training of 370 Nigerian seafarers in relevant courses leading to award of the Standards of Training Certifications STCW on board Oil Tanker Familiarization, Security Awareness SPS Code, Proficiency in Survival Craft and Rescue Boats (PSCRB) and Dynamic Positioning.
It was also gathered that a total of 150 fresh cadets will benefit from the programme under the Nigerian Seafarers Development Programme NSDP which will commence in the next academic session.