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 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 feedbacks 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.