Delta State governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa has reiterated the strides made by the maritime industry over the years just as he stated that the efficiency and effectiveness of the Nigerian economy depends largely on the maritime sector.
He hinged his assertion on the fact that not less than 90 per cent of world trade are transported through the sea.
The governor stated this in his keynote address at the 2018 Day of the Seafarers celebration with the theme; “seafarers’ wellbeing” in Warri, Delta State.
The event was organized by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).
Participants, especially government agencies commended NIMASA for its efforts and determination to ensure that Nigeria is reckoned with in the international maritime domain.
Represented by his deputy, Barrister Kingsley Otuaro, the governor applauded the initiative of the establishment of the Nigerian Maritime University (NMU), Okerenkoko which is the first specialized in Africa.
The NIMASA Head, Corporate Communications, Mr. Isichei Osamgbi in a statement made available to Maritime Bits quoted Okowaexpressing the readiness of the state to partner the agency in actualizing the vision behind the establishment of the institution.
“As a state, we are prepared to support and partner NIMASA and the Federal Government of Nigeria to ensure the underlying motive of establishing the Nigeria Maritime University is achieved; we are also certain that the university undoubtedly will be a source of training more seafarers and adding more commercial value to the Nigerian economy” Okowa said.
The Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside has earlier in his welcome address noted that the Nigerian seafarers rank among the best in the world and can favourably compete with their foreign counterparts.
He explained that this was why the agency in the past few years embarked on the training and re-training of Nigerian seafarers and cadets in specialized maritime courses both locally and internationally, which is aimed at enhancing their competences and employability.
The NIMASA helmsman who reiterated the agency’s commitment to ensuring a better living condition for the seafarers in line with the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) Decent Work Agenda gave the assurance that the agency will continue to make issues concerning the seafarers a priority.
He also highlighted the importance of the ILO’s Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) 2006 which he said Nigerian ratified in 2013, stating that it made adequate provisions for seafarers’ welfare which if fully implemented will also guarantee their wellbeing.
“As the competent authority for the implementation of all IMO and ILO conventions, NIMASA has diligently commenced the implementation of the convention in Nigeria from the time it entered into force in 2014 till date, through the conduct of port and flag inspections on board vessels operating in our waters,” he said.
While acknowledging the fact that the Nigerian seafarers are faced with lots of challenges that are work related, Peterside used the opportunity to urge all employers to ensure the promotion of ILO’s Decent Work Agenda, which aims at promoting the workers mental health and wellbeing.
He explained that as part of the agency’s commitment to training and retraining of the seafarers to enhance professionalism in the sector, the agency has so far trained over 2000 cadets under the Nigerian Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP).
This is in addition to those who have already undergone their mandatory sea time training, 500 have been earmarked for sea time training in 2018 fiscal year, while another 500 will undergo the training in 2019.
He revealed that no fewer than 150 fresh cadets will benefit from the programme under the NSDP which will commence in the next academic session.
The NIMASA helmsman also disclosed that the agency in May this year facilitated the training of 370 Nigerian seafarers in relevant courses leading to certifications on Standards of Training Certifications (STCW), Oil Tanker Familiarization Security Awareness (ISPS) Code, Proficiency in Survival Craft and Rescue Boats (PSCRB) and Dynamic Positioning.
According to him, another 560 dockworkers benefitted from the training programme on Occupational Safety and Health which was developed in line with the ILO’s code of practice OSH. All these are geared toward realizing a robust maritime sector in line with international regulations.
President General of the Maritime Workers Union (MWUN), represented by the Secretary General, Comrade Felix Akingboye, the Chairman, Ports Consultative Council, Otunba Kunle Folarin, President of the Seamen and Water Transport Branch of MWUN, Comrade Francis Bunu and other stakeholders also commended NIMASA for its efforts in ensuring that the welfare of the seafarers is taken into proper consideration.
The day of the seafarers is a day celebrated all over the world on June 25 yearly. This followed the resolution adopted by the 2010 diplomatic conference in Manila, Philippines to adopt the STCW Convention.