Contrary to reports that the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has been negligent with regards placing Nigerian seafarers onboard vessels, the agency has placed over 7,000 Nigerian seafarers onboard ocean-going vessels in six years.
The Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside revealed this during a recent maritime stakeholders forum in Lagos, organized by the Alumni of Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN) Oron.
He also stated that most of the 7000 beneficiaries were MAN Oron graduates and the Nigerian Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP) cadets.
Dr. Dakuku noted that NIMASA had set up a Joint Stakeholders’ Committee for a 5-year waiver cessation plan in Nigeria.
The NIMASA boss commended MAN Oron for organizing the programme and enjoined them to continue undeterred as their efforts resonate the length and breadth of the maritime space.
Meanwhile, Captain Warredi Enisouh who headed a five-man panel tasked with answering stakeholders’ questions at the event, averred that NIMASA performs its statutory requirement of 0.5% remittance to MAN Oron.
He refuted the assertion that most of the NSDP trainees absconded and stayed back in foreign lands as a result of non engagement in Nigeria.
He discountenanced the allegation that ratings are still being given waivers and informed about subsisting marine notices to that effect and the use of Western region and urged the Director General’s enforcement officers to ensure compliance.
Also speaking at the event, Engr. Awaritse expressed dismay on poor certification as a result of MAN Oron’s lack of infrastructure, unconduicive learning environment and poorly equipped lecturers.
Awaritse who presented a paper on the ‘Voice of Seafarers’ also lamented the discrimination of certificates issued by NIMASA on some vessels, poor and discriminatory salary of seafarers, poor welfare, among other challenges.
However, he concluded by advising that the Agency should effect the necessary reviews in the identified areas.
Meanwhile, sixteen years after the introduction of the Cabotage regime in Nigeria, the Head of Cabotage Services (HCS) lauded the increased human capacity development which led to replacement of foreigners with Nigerians.
The Chairman of the Alumni Association, Engr. Austin Ume-zurike also stated this in his address earlier even as he lamented that Nigerian offshore supply vessels (OSV) weren’t engaged in the export of the nation’s crude.
Engr. Austin lamented that this was the most limiting factor affecting indigenous operators in the sector and it negates the provisions of the Cabotage Act.
“These negative impacts promote cut-throat competition, foreign domination and capital flight”, he said.