*Registers 1,176 from January to July 2023
No fewer than 539 Nigerian seafarers have been recommended for replacement on board vessels in the first quarter of 2023 following the implementation of the provisions of the Coastal and Inland Shipping Act 2003, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has said.
These seafarers who are ratings on board vessels are to be replaced within two-three weeks of operations.
Similarly, NIMASA which presently has Dr. Bashir Jamoh as its Director General and chief executive officer has placed 3,705 seafarers on board Cabotage vessels in 2021; 7,238 in 2022 and 1013 from January to July 2023.
So far, no fewer than 11,956 Nigerian seafarers have been placed onboard vessels from January 2021 to July 2023 based on the provisions of the Coastal and Inland Shipping Act 2003 otherwise called the Cabotage Act.
The agency in a statement signed by its Assistant, Mr. Edward Osagie said what it has done was in line with the cardinal principle of the Cabotage regime which entails localization of manning vessels operating in Nigerian waters.
According to the statement which was made available to Maritime Bits, to a considerable extent, NIMASA has ensured the placement of Nigerian seafarers on board Cabotage vessels in line with its placement functions and the provisions of the Cabotage Act 2003. Improving on this, Cabotage manning applications are now processed on the condition that all foreign crew especially ratings on board vessels are to be replaced with Nigerian seafarers/cadets within two-three weeks of operations.
The agency also disclosed that registration and documentation have now been digitalized as the establishment of the e-registration platform enables online and real-time registration of maritime labour (seafarers and dockworkers), maritime labour employers (shipping companies, manning/crewing agents, stevedoring companies, jetties/terminals operators) and operators (bonded terminals, inland container deports, off dock terminals, dry ports offshore platforms) in the country.
Continuing, it said: “It is worthwhile to mention that the maritime labour e-registration platform is a robust integrated information, verification and communication facility that provides real-time information on maritime labour registration processes and operations as well as enables the online registration and verification of documents, and the issuance of operational licenses timely. The platform is also meant to serve as a database from which statistics can be extrapolated for national planning, policy formulation, human and infrastructural development and research purposes. NIMASA is in the process to host the e-registration platform on the agency website”.
It also revealed that 3,219 and 3,619 seafarers were registered in 2021 and 2022 respectively with 1176 registered from January to July 2023.
Similarly, 24 MLC 2006 certificates were issued in year 2021; 49 MLC 2006 certificates issued in 2022 and 63 MLC 2006 certificates from January to July 2023. So far, a total of 8,014 seafarers have been registered from 2021 to January to July 2023 and 136 MLC 2006 certificates issued after inspections within the same years.
Furthermore, 65 stevedoring companies, 26 terminal/jetty operators and 1,395 dockworkers have been registered from 2021 to January to July 2023.
Maritime Bits had reported that NIMASA in 2008 initiated the NSDP with the sole mandate of training Nigerian youths to become seafarers and Naval Architects in fulfilling one of its core function in the area of maritime capacity building.
The programme was designed to train Nigerian youths up to degree level in Marine Engineering, Nautical Sciences and Naval Architecture in some of the best Maritime Training Institutions (MTIs) abroad and to position them to compete effectively in the global maritime industry as a means of developing the Nigerian maritime space.
Maritime Bits had also reported thatin December 2022, NIMASA sent forth 235 Nigerians to India and Greece as Batch B of the 435 young Nigerians to be trained as licensed deck and engine officers including Naval Architects under NSDP with an additional 200 having been previously sponsored for overseas training under Batch A.
At the occasion, Jamoh had noted that the agency was working with countries who are committed to an understanding for mutual recognition of Certificate of Competency (CoC) and that had underpinned the selection of the chosen institutes to train the beneficiaries. It is also noteworthy that the agency has succeeded in providing sea time for all beneficiaries of the NSDP.
According to him, this implied that the bedrock for young Nigerians to earn foreign currencies and improve remittances to the country has been set by the agency.