The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has made
significant progress in securing sea time berths for cadets trained
under the Nigerian Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP), despite the
limitations of the coronavirus pandemic. Director-General of the Agency,
Dr. Bashir Jamoh, disclosed this in Lagos following a recent three-month
extension granted the 400 Nigerian seafarers undertaking sea time in
different parts of the world due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The three-month programme leading to the award of Certificate of
Competency (CoC) to beneficiaries, was extended for another three months
by NIMASA, in the first instance, to enable the seafarers to complete
their training amid the global lockdowns caused by the pandemic.
Jamoh stated that despite the outbreak of COVID-19, the Agency had
intensified efforts to secure sea time opportunities for a good number
of the trained cadets across the globe.
He stated, “In the first quarter of 2020 alone we secured sea time
berths for over 550 cadets in various countries for the three months
programme leading to the issuance of CoCs. However, due to the pandemic,
we extended their sponsorship for another three months, which comes with
additional cost, and we are still looking to extend it further as we
continue to monitor the pandemic and how it affects the programme.”
The NIMASA DG stated that the Agency was in constant touch with Nigerian
embassies in the beneficiaries’ host countries as well as the students
themselves and their leaders to monitor their situations and guard
against anything that could keep them stranded in a foreign country.
“We have adapted our approaches to the peculiar conditions of the
different countries where we have Nigerian seafarers on sea time
training,” Jamoh said, adding, “The feedback from the students’ leaders
in the various countries have been very encouraging.”
He disclosed that another set of NSDP cadets had been approved for
training, but their enrolment was on hold due to the global pandemic.
Jamoh said the problem of sea time training, which is one of the biggest
challenges of seafarers, was gradually being resolved.
The NSDP was initiated by NIMASA in 2008 to deal with the dearth of
trained and certified seafarers in Nigeria. So far the programme has
graduated over 2,000 cadets and many of them have undergone sea time and
are currently in the employ of various international shipping lines.