28 June 2018, Sweetcrude, Lagos — The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, has suspended the issuance of waivers to foreign seafarers manning vessels through the introduction of a New Cabotage Compliance Strategy (NCCS), it was learnt yesterday.
NIMASA Director-General, Dr. Dakuku Peterside stated this in Warri when the agency joined the rest of the world to celebrate this year’s International Day of the Seafarer.
The theme of the event was: ‘Seafarers’ Wellbeing’ with a particular focus on their mental health.
It is believed that by addressing seafarers wellbeing and particularly their mental health, all other issues affecting their conditions, such as stress and depression, can be tackled through the adoption of effective strategies.
NIMASA has the responsibility to ensure the placement of seafarers on board all cabotage vessels operating in the country.
Peterside has mandated all shipowners to always submit the list of crew on board their vessels and give information on their vessel‘s operations to officials of the agency.
Peterside debunked the allegations by some shipowners that Nigerian seafarers lack the required competencies to work on board vessels.
“It is worthy of note that this policy has recorded some level of success as more Nigerians are now engaged on Cabotage vessels. However, l must mention here that some companies have adopted negative measures to circumvent this policy by withholding information on their vessel‘s operations and the submission of fake crew lists. In some other cases, they come up with the excuse that the Nigerian seafarers lack the required competencies to work on board these vessels.
“I wish to clearly state without any fear of contradiction that Nigerian seafarers ranks among the best in the world and can favourably compete with their foreign counterparts.”
This, Peterside said, explains why the NIMASA has in the past few years, embarked on training and retraining of seafarers and cadets in specialised maritime courses both locally and internationally with the sole aim of enhancing their competences, capability and employability.
“For the records, NIMASA has so far trained over 2,051 cadets under the Nigerian seafarers’ development programme (NSDP). In addition to those who have already undergone their mandatory sea time training, 500 have been earmarked for sea time training in 2018 fiscal year, while additional 500 will undergo the training in 2019.
“Furthermore, 150 fresh cadets will benefit from the programme under the NSDP~3 which will commence in the next academic session.
“On the other hand, the agency in May this year facilitated the training of 370 Nigerian Seafarers in relevant courses leading to certifications on Standard of Training Certification and Watch-keeping (STCW)), Oil tanker familiarisation, Security Awareness (lSPS) Code, Proficiency in Survival Craft and Rescue Boat (PSCRB) and Dynamic Positioning,” he said.