14 February 2014, Lagos – Maritime stakeholders in South Africa have commended the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) for its seafarers’ training initiative, the National Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP), which began in 2008.
The commendation was made at a training workshop at the Gelen Hove Conferencing, Houghton, Johannesburg, which had Nigerians in attendance. The stakeholders said the NIMASA programme was what Africa required to boost its maritime industry.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of FBI Communications, Farhana Ismail, a participant, said that her firm was collaborating with the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) for the development of the shipping sector.
She observed that if the agency’s the initiative was sustained, Nigeria with its huge populatioon, could surpass the Philippines in the training of seafarers for not just Africa but the whole world.
Ismail, a veteran journalist, pointed out that Nigeria and South Africa being maritime nations appeared to be thinking alike as the latter had recently dispatched 32 South Africans to Sweden to acquire knowledge in various aspects of maritime.
“It is good that Nigeria is focusing on the training of seafarers. Look at what Philippines has done with its seafarers that are all over the world. If NIMASA sustains this, it will not be a surprise if Nigeria surpasses Philippines considering its huge population.
Her words: “What SAMSA is doing to develop the maritime sector is similar. Last January, 32 people were sent to Sweden to learn different types of expertise in maritime. It is expected that by the time they come back, they would have become masters in their various fields”, she said.
She also disclosed that her outfit had been collaborating with SAMSA to develop maritime curricula for institutions in the country, an initiative akin to what NIMASA was currently doing with some universities in Nigeria.
According to her, the agency had entered into Memoradum of Understanding (MoU) with some shipping firms with a view to securing sea time training berths for cadets onboard their vessels since South Africa like Nigeria, lacked ships.
Similarly, the editor of South Africa’s foremost maritime journal, Maritime Review, Colleen Jacka, showered encomiums on NIMASA for what it was doing to develop the country’s maritime sub-sector, especially in the area of seafaring.
She pointed out that her country and Nigeria were similar in various respects in the area of shipping, pointing out that both nations lacked vessels and maritime manpower, hence any effort in those directions was welcome.
Jacka therefore urged the two countries to develop legislations that would boost maritime development, even as she commended the institution of Nigeria’s Cabotage Act, a law which she regretted did not exist in South Africa.
She equally commended the initiative of establishing a maritime bank in Nigeria and demanded to know what had happened to the noble idea, saying such institutions were thngs that could boost the industry.
– This Day