From Anthony Nwachukwu, Lagos
Nigeria’s economic growth and expansion depends largely on the efficient harnessing and management of its maritime sector, with over 90 per cent of world trade transported through the sea, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State has said.
Okowa, in his keynote address at the 2018 Day of the Seafarers Monday in Warri, Delta State, also applauded the establishment of the Nigerian Maritime University (NMU) and stated state’s readiness to partner the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to achieve the vision of its establishment.
Represented by the Deputy Governor, Mr. Kingsley Otuaro, Okowa said the state was also “certain that the university will undoubtedly be a means of training more seafarers and adding more commercial value to the Nigerian economy,” according to a statement by the NIMASA Head of Corporate Communications, Isichei Osamgbi.
On his part, the NIMASA Director-General, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, said that Nigerian seafarers rank among the best worldwide and can favourably compete with foreign peers. He noted that their recent training and retraining in specialised maritime courses locally and internationally were meant to enhance their competences and employability.
He further reiterated the agency’s commitment to a better living condition for the seafarers in line with the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) Decent Work Agenda, adding that the ILO’s Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) 2006, which Nigerian ratified in 2013, made adequate provisions for seafarers’ welfare, which will guarantee their wellbeing if fully implemented.
According to him, “as the competent authority for the implementation of all IMO and ILO conventions, NIMASA has diligently commenced the implementation of the convention in Nigeria from the time it entered into force in 2014 till date, through the conduct of port and flag inspections on board vessels operating in our waters.”
Meanwhile, as part of NIMASA’s commitment to improving seafarers’ professionalism, Peterside said that an additional 500 cadets have been earmarked for sea-time training in the 2018 fiscal year under the Nigerian Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP), and a further 500 in 2019, beside the over 2,000 so far trained.
Similarly, he disclosed that 150 fresh cadets would benefit from the NSDP, which will commence in the next academic session.