Nigeria’s apex maritime regulatory authority, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), has stepped up capacity building to ensure that Nigeria meet its manpower needs in the shipping sector of the economy.
Apart from meeting the manpower needs of the country, the agency said it would also help in meetings the provisions of the Coastal and Inland Shipping Act 2003 otherwise called Cabotage.
According to a statement issued in Lagos and signed by its Deputy Director and Head of Public Relations, Mr. Isichei Osamgbi, the agency expressed its commitment to build capacity for the Nigerian maritime sector with a view to facilitate qualitative employment within the Cabotage regime.
The statement quoted NIMASA Director General, Mr. Ziakede Akpobolokemi, saying this at this year’s seafarers’ day celebration in the Rivers State capital, Port Harcourt.
Akpobolokemi, who spoke through the agency’s Executive Director Maritime Labour and Cabotage Services, Mr. Callistus Obi, told stakeholders at the occasion that the agency’s investment in the Nigerian Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP) and the facilitation of the establishment of institutes of maritime studies in four Nigerian Universities were a clear testament to the commitment to building capacity for the industry.
He appealed to stakeholders to encourage Nigerian youths to seek careers at sea by taking advantage of the various opportunities provided by the agency and other key players.
His words: “The overwhelming interest showed by Nigerian youths in the seafaring profession calls for support from all industry stakeholders in the maritime sector to assist in capacity development, especially in the area of onboard training. We at NIMASA have been placing cadets’ onboard cabotage vessels as part of mandatory requirements for obtaining their Competency Certificates”.
He described the submission of Nigeria’s instrument of ratification of the Maritime Labour Convention 2006 to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) exactly a week before the celebrations of this year’s day of the seafarers as a testament to NIMASA’s commitment to the welfare of seafarers with an assurance that the agency is committed to its successful implementation.
Also speaking, the General Secretary of Merchant Navy Officers and Water Transport Association of Nigeria, Mr. Julius Efokpor, noted that NIMASA has done its own part by seeing to the ratification and subsequent submission of instrument of ratification of MLC 2006 to the ILO.
He however noted the need for associations and organisations in the maritime sector to commence immediate work on their individual conditions of service for seafarers in line with the provisions of the MLC, adding that it will serve as the required catalyst NIMASA needs for effective and smooth implementation of the Convention.
Information from This Day was used in this report.