DG NIMASA, Dr. Jamoh

The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency NIMASA has made significant progress in securing sea time berths for cadets trained under the Nigerian Seafarers Development Programme NSDP, despite the limitations occasioned by the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The NSDP was initiated by NIMASA in 2008 to address the dearth of trained and certified seafarers in Nigeria. So far, over 2,000 cadets have graduated under the programme over  the years and many have undergone sea time training and are currently in the employ of various international shipping lines.

This is sequel a recent three-month extension granted the 400 Nigerian seafarers undertaking sea time in different parts of the world leading to the award of Certificate of Competency CoC due to the coronavirus.

Director-General of the agency, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, who made this disclosure in Lagos, said the three-month extension of the programme to beneficiaries in the first instance by NIMASA, was to enable the seafarers complete their training amid the global lockdown due to the pandemic.

He also said that even in the midst of the outbreak of the COVID-19, the agency has intensified efforts to secure sea time opportunities for a good number of the trained cadets across the globe.

“In the first quarter of 2020 alone, we secured sea time berths for over 550 cadets in various countries for the three -month programme leading to the issuance of CoCs. However, due to the pandemic, we extended their sponsorship for another three months, which comes with additional cost, and we are still looking to extend it further as we continue to monitor the pandemic and how it affects the programme”, the DG said.

It was gathered that the agency has been in constant touch with Nigerian embassies in the countries where these cadets are being trained. This is in addition to monitoring the individuals with a view to ensuring their welfare to forestall a situation where they will become stranded in a foreign land.

Jamoh said: “We have adapted our approaches to the peculiar conditions of the different countries where we have Nigerian seafarers on sea time training. The feedbacks from the students’ leaders in the various countries have been very encouraging.”

He disclosed that another set of NSDP cadets had been approved for training, but their enrolment was on hold due to the global pandemic.

The DG said the problem of sea time training, which is one of the biggest challenges of seafarers, was gradually being resolved.