Umar was speaking during the inauguration of three newly acquired security and enforcement boats and send-forth of 655 beneficiaries of the Seafarers’ Development Programme at the Nigerian Maritime Resource and Development Centre in Kirikiri, Lagos.
He said the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, had established Institutes of Maritime Studies in the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, University of Lagos, Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida University in Lapai, Niger State and Niger Delta University in Bayelsa State.
He said the Maritime Academy of Nigeria in Oron, Akwa Ibom State, had been strengthened with infrastructural and technical capacity to make it more responsive to human capacity development. Efforts, he said, were on to make the Academy a degree-awarding institution by affiliating it to the World Maritime University in Malmo, Sweden.
Umar said the development of young and quality seafarers was a direct response to the dearth of seafarers globally and particularly in Nigeria. The 655 cadets, he said, would leave shortly for various maritime training institutions in Egypt, India, Philippines, Romania and the United Kingdom.
He said the ministry and its parastatals had carried out various initiatives and reform programmes aimed at securing Nigerian waters against piracy and armed robbery.
NIMASA Director-General Mr. Ziakede Akpobolokemi said last year 1500 cadet trainees were selected for training under the Nigerian Seafarers Development Programme, NSDP, adding that the selection of the 655 cadets brings to 2505 the number of trainee cadets expected to undergo academic, technical and sea time training under the programme.
He said that 15 state governments currently support the programme and urged others to show interest and support. NIMASA, he noted, believes that the Nigerian Seafarers Development Programme in the nearest future will make Nigeria Africa’s hub for supply of skilled maritime human capital. He also said that government is planning to build a ship-building yard for practical and technical training for students of the Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron, Akwa Ibom State.
– The Nation