03 November 2018, Sweetcrude, Lagos — The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, is considering scrapping the National Seafarers Development Programme, NSDP.
Speaking at the 2018 Pass-Out Parade, POP, and the graduation ceremony of the Maritime Academy of Nigeria, NIMASA’s Executive Director, Marine and Operations, Engr Rotimi Fashakin, said that the NSDP was an interventionist programme meant to bridge the gap created by the dearth of sailors in Nigeria.
Fashakin also said that this was not meant to be a permanent one adding that the emphasis will now be on sea time training for seafarers that are yet to get such training.
He said: “You will understand clearly that the NSDP programme has been an interventionist programme, it was not meant to be a permanent feature within the maritime structure within the country.
“Be that as it may, it means that at one time or the other, we will begin to wind down on it and concentrate on ensuring that sea time for those that need.
“You heard part of the statement earlier in the day that about 5,000 seafarers are still waiting for their sea time training.
“So that is where the emphasis shall be so that Nigeria can reap the benefits of merchant marine”
Similarly, the President of Nigeria Association of Master Mariners, NAMM, Captain Joseph Ahodeha said that the NSDP has failed in its objective to produce quality seafarers.
Ahodeha also said that the backlog of seafarers that have had sea time should be dealt with before scrapping the programme.
He said: “The NSDP programme has failed, there is no need to send cadets to abroad for training anymore
“They need to clear the backlog before they think of scrapping the programme.
Maritime training was never meant to be mass production of cadets without proper arrangement for their sea time training.
‘But first of all, they must clear the backlog they created
Former Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, Chief Adebayo Sarumi told Vanguard Report that the scrapping should be a gradual process.
A lecturer at the academy Engr Richard Owolabi suggested that half of what is spent on the NSDP cadets should be used to purchase a training vessel so as to give these cadets the sea time training they need.