17 December 2012, Sweetcrude, Lagos – President Goodluck Jonathan has urged the shipping companies to adhere strictly to the provisions of the Cabotage Act 2003, so as to develop the maritime industry.
Jonathan said this in Lagos at the send-off ceremony organised by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, for 520 qualified Student Cadets and Ratings who are travelling to Philippines to study seafaring.
The News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, reports that the Cabotage Act became operative in 2003 to facilitate the dominance of indigenous ship owners in coastal and inland shipping activities.
“The Act must be enforced; shipping companies and owners of ships must follow the laws to achieve the full objectives of coastal trade,” Jonathan said.
The president, who was represented by Alhaji Idris Umar, Minister of Transport, urged the students to be good ambassadors of Nigeria.
“You have been admonished and warned; so, you must take your studies seriously. God has given you this opportunity; you must not shame your families and the country,” he said.
Jonathan said that the students were being sent out as disciplined young men and women, urging them to come back home as disciplined persons.
He said that the Federal Government was aware of the potential of the maritime sector which had yet to be fully harnessed for the benefit of the nation.
“It is in view of this that the government asked NIMASA to train seafarers. Seafaring aids the economic growth of any country,” he said.
Mr Patrick Akpobolokemi, the Director-General of NIMASA, noted that seafarers represented the hub in maritime operations.
“Today, we are making history in NIMASA and of course, in the maritime sector and it is in line with the transformation agenda of Mr President, whose desire is to build the capacity of the maritime sector,” he said.
Akpobolokemi noted that there was a steady decline in the number of young capable seafarers to police our costal trade.
He said that NIMASA came up with the training programme to redress the situation and forestall the collapse of the maritime sector.
“We are smiling here because of the support of Mr President and the minister of transport.
“We want to take you to where you are going to excel and be able to contribute to the development of this country from the maritime perspective,” he said.
Mr Amos Uyoata, who spoke on behalf of the seafarers, thanked the Federal Government for the opportunity given to them and promised that they would not be a source of embarrassment to the country.
“We promise that we are going to be good ambassadors and come back with our certificates,” he said.
The qualified Students Cadets and Ratings were travelling to Philippines to study seafaring, under the Nigerian Seafarers’ Development Programme.