Stakeholder Tasks FG on Nigerian Maritime Certificates
By Yemi Olakitan
In a reaction to a recent partnership between NIMASA and the NLNG and their plans to train 150 seafarers abroad, the President of Maritime Professionals Forum (MARPRO) a seafarers advocacy group, Capt Segun Akanbi has called on the Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Adegboyega Oyetola to scrap the National Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP) and focus energy on giving credibility to certificates being issued by Nigerian academies, especially the Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN).
The NSDP is a sponsored intervention programme being implemented by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to grow the capacity of young Nigerians to be certified as seafarers with global recognition and acceptance, thus bridging the gap in the dearth of seafarers globally.
According to him, the continuous training of seafarers abroad, especially the Officers of the Watch (OOW) license, is a testimonial that NIMASA does not have confidence in its own OOW license which is being issued in Nigeria.
“NIMASA is issuing an Unlimited OOW License, yet patronizing other countries to get OOW license. If you do not have confidence in the licence you issue, how do you expect other nations to respect the same license?
“Madvicese to the new Minister is to end or review the NSDP program immediately and channel all energies to solving whatever issues they have with the Nigeria license.
“Having a dedicated Ministry for Marine and Blue Economy is indeed a big win for the industry and we as Nigeria Seafarers have a strong faith in the Renewed Hope Agenda. We believe that all hands should be on deck to change the narratives.
The Maritime industry is overdue for a complete overhaul. No stone should be left unturned”
Capt Akanbi picked holes in the capacity-building partnership between NIMASA and NLNG, saying that NLNG recruited the first set of 11 Cadets from the MAN Oron in 1998 in line with her Nigerianisation Policy.
“The idea then was to kickstart the project by sending the earliest beneficiaries to the UK for the training while they help the Maritime Academy upgrade her STCW 95 courses to international standard.
“The NLNG also engaged the Warsash Maritime Academy, Southampton UK to help facilitate the process of the upgrade by reviewing the module to MCA equivalent.
“Unfortunately, 25 years later, we are still on the same topic of sending cadets to the UK, Romania, Egypt etc to get COC.
“Now that NIMASA’s central focus is on the NSDP Cadets, what is the fate of other Cadets from MAN Oron, Federal College of Fisheries and Marine Technology, Nigeria Maritime University, and other private Maritime Academies?
“I hope the new partnership of NIMASA and NLNG for NSDP does not hijack the initial arrangement of Training cadets from Oron. Looks like the division is not going to end. The new Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy is beginning to thread in the same old ways” he lamented.