Having identified shortage of manpower in the Nigeria maritime industry, the agency has introduced new investments to harness the full potential of the industry. It should be noted that a full-scale training and career development in the industry is very expensive and could last for about 10 years. This has led to the dearth of adequately trained experts in the industry.
Stakeholders in the maritime industry stressed that the critical skills would promote and sustain growth in indigenous ownership of marine vessels, enforce utilisation of Nigeria owned marine vessels, increase capacity of local shipyards to build, service and maintain marine vessels of various sizes.
Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside, stressed that shortage in manpower has contributed to the slow progress experienced in the industry.He said that the shortage of manpower, especially marine engineers and naval architectures, has been part of the delays in having a national carrier.
Peterside said this during the Institute of Directors’ (IoD) Members’ Evening, with theme: “The activities of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA)”.
Represented by the Executive Director, Maritime Labour and Cabotage services, Ahmed Gambo, Peterside said the national carrier would bridge the existing gap in indigenous participation in the affreightment of Nigeria’s international seaborne trade and also act as a platform for the training of Nigerians in seafaring and ship management.
“The National carrier venture is structured to be private sector driven. It is facilitated by an inter-agency committee, headed by the Executive Secretary of Nigerian shippers Council and maintain healthy pipeline of skilled marine operators and seafarers.“We don’t have a national vessel and even the training has been a challenge for NIMASA. Nigeria has no training vessels and even the training is an expensive venture, so can’t afford to do this half way. We are working on the national vessel and we hope to achieve this soon,” Peterside added.He added that the agency is poised to fight insecurity and has come up with the deep blue project to that effect.
“There will be helicopters, fast intervention vessels, sources vehicles and vessels to combat insecurity on our waterways. These criminals have faster vessels before, but now we say they cannot beat us again. We keep some of these strategies secret. We set up a committee comprising stakeholders to this effect,” the Director General said.
On technology, he noted that the agency is up scaling through automation of its processes.“The role of NIMASA as the focal point administration of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has heightened its concentration on amendments to existing instruments to meet new and emerging technologies in shipping and improve safety of the marine environment and seafarers. Digitisation of all the Agency’s operational processes is an integral part of our strategic reform,” he added.
President and Chairman Governing Council, loD Nigeria, Chris Okunowo urged members to partner with the maritime industry, which has been identified as a catalyst for Nigeria’s economic diversification.Okunowo added that the process of policy formulation and implementation has essentially been consigned to the government and its agencies.He noted that the synergy would help connect the nexus between the government and other professional bodies, including the IoD, and ensure a friendlier business environment.