· Rewards outstanding cadets with automatic employment
· To commence Phase 2 in 2018
At long last, some young Nigerian can heave a sigh of relief and rekindle their hopes of career development and a better life as a total of 239 cadets who are beneficiaries of the Nigerian Seafarers Development Programmes are set to embark on their mandatory seatime training in line with global best practices.
In the first phase of the fully sponsored training programme, 150 cadets are bound for the Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Marine Transportation in Alexandria, Egypt, while another group of 89 cadets also within the first phase will be proceeding to the South Tyneside College (STC), United Kingdom, for their on-board sea-time training.
The Egypt bound delegation consists of 77 Deck and 73 Engine cadets.
The Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside, who made the revelation at the flag off of Phase 1 of NIMASA’s full sponsored sea time training, for NSDP cadets said that the occasion represents a watershed moment in our journey and collective resolve to develop maritime capacity in Nigeria and demonstrates our firm commitment to vigorously pursue indigenous human capacity development.
Peterside said presently, the programme has over 243 graduates and 1600 cadets at various stages of completion of the programme out of which 887 are ready for sea-time training. Sea-time training is a critical aspect of the training of seafarers as it entails practical on board training on sea going vessels, with cadets spending a minimum of nine to twelve months on board ocean going vessels.
“As some of you may already know, berth spaces are not easy to come by, therefore one of the biggest challenges we had was sourcing for berth spaces for the cadets, coupled with the desire of this administration to follow due process in all our dealings. We are pleased that we did not fall into the temptation of taking short cuts at any time; we have therefore engaged various Maritime Training Institutions to provide this essential service,” he said.
The NIMASA DG stated that the Agency painstakingly chose the Maritime Training Institutions strategically to position Nigeria in bilateral relationships to boost the acceptability of Nigerian Certificates of Competence (CoC) in other climes with the long term goal of providing more jobs for Nigerian seafarers on board vessels from other nationalities.
He charged the first batch of cadets to be good ambassadors of Nigeria, adding that “we expect nothing but the best, given the choice the nation has made especially at a period in our national lives where other sectors of the economy are yearning for funding. We implore you to bring the flair and “can-do” spirit of Nigeria that has caught the attention of the world in various fields like medicine, engineering, law and even ICT across the globe to bear.”
He called for patience on from cadets who did not make the first list saying there was nothing to worry about as every qualified cadet would be offered an opportunity to go on sea-time in 2018 and beyond according to schedule.
Peterside was full of praise for 20 cadets who distinguished themselves while breaking and setting new academic records in their respective institutions of learning. “Among us here are 20 cadets who excelled academically overseas and achieved feats in some instances that not even the nationals of the host countries had managed to.”
“I am proud to inform you that these NSDP Cadets shattered the glass ceiling in the Philippines, the United Kingdom and Egypt; they will continuously be used as reference points for academic excellence. I congratulate all of you who have made the country proud and to encourage this honour you have brought the nation, Management of the Agency will award automatic employment to all those who bagged first class honours in this group that we are presenting this award today. I implore those of you bound to sail to come back with even higher laurels,” he enthused.
The Nigerian Seafarers Development Programme was conceived in 2008 as a deliberate policy to ameliorate the dearth in certified and qualified seafarers and of course the depletion of seafarers in our national pool due mainly to age and migratory instinct for greener pastures by seafarers.
The NSDP scheme was timeously implemented in September, 2009 to compliment full implementation of the Cabotage Act, 2003, which in itself is geared towards strengthening indigenous tonnage capacity with one of its cardinal objectives being that coastal vessels are to be exclusively manned by Nigerians. The dearth in certified and qualified seafarers in Nigeria was a poignant reminder and a wake-up call for the Agency, the NSDP scheme has not looked back since September, 2009.