13 March 2014, Lagos – Stakeholders in the maritime industry have said that the introduction of seafarers’ electronic verification by the management of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, will improve employment opportunity for the nation’s seafarers.
The stakeholders pointed out that the agency’s seafarers’ e-verification scheme would also enable the international community that wants to employ any Nigerian seafarer to simply log on to the portal to ascertain the authenticity of such seafarer’s claim.
They charged NIMASA management to ensure that all seafarers whose contacts are in the portal are well trained and have the necessary competence to do the job for which they are certified.
National Secretary of Nigeria Ship-owners Association, NISA, Capt, Niyi Labinjo, described the innovation by the NIMASA management as a step in the right direction.
Labinjo noted that the new scheme, which he has personally tested, will eliminate time wasted by operators going to the agency’s office personally for verification.
According to Labinjo, “Is a good thing, it is very good. I like what I saw, I have tested it and I am happy with it. This means you do not have to go to them before you can check a particular seafarer. It is a good thing and it is long over-due. It is also important to note that the international maritime community can also take advantage of it.”
He further noted that the portal should help curb the recruitment of fake seafarers both in the country and outside the country.
Similarly, the Chief Executive Officer, CEO of Maritime Media Limited, Asu Beks, praised the new scheme, saying that it has opened the door for Nigerian seafarers in the international scene.
According to him, “I think what the Director General and management of NIMASA have done is to bring sanity to whole seafarers verification process in the country. I think it is a step in the right direction but again, I think this may have been prompted by the President General of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria, MWUN, Tony Nted.
Recall that the Akopolokemi had said that the initiative is part of the agency’s effort to ensure that operations of NIMASA are in line with acceptable international best practice. The DG had explained that the online verification system is more effective and much more reliable.
In his word: “Our commitment to ensure professionalism in the Nigeria maritime sector is unflinching and our goal is to attain maximum efficiency in the process of certificate verification, which can now be done in any part of the world at any time.”