The United Arab Shipping Line has offered to give seatime experience to not less than 100 Nigerian cadets yearly for the next five years, especially those under the National Seafarers Development Program (NSDP)
Disclosing this to newsmen in Lagos last week, Director General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Dr Dakuku Peterside said the seatime training would be done onboard newly acquired oceangoing vessels by the shipping line.
He assured that NIMASA is about to consummate the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) where the United Arab Shipping Line would provide a minimum of 20 sea time beds, signifying 100 seafarers per annum for the next five years.
According to the NIMASA DG, the United Arab Shipping lines believes that Nigerian seafarers are hardworking and knowledgeable, he said the line recently acquired a number of new vessels and they feel that Africans and Nigerian seafarers would help in growing their trade.
He said: "We have got an offer from United Arab Shipping Line where they offered to provide (free of charge) seatime beds for some of our cadets, we are about to consummate the MoU where they would provide us a minimum of 20 sea time beds per annum for the next five years, this means that they would be taking-on 100 seafarers free of charge. Their own profit is that they are looking at the readiness to employ the seafarers if they perform well within the period of their seatime ".
He added that the agency is also working with some shipowners in Nigeria to look at the possibility of placing some cadets onboard their vessels.
In terms of certification, Peterside said the agency has issued 3,752 certificates to seafarers, representing 149 percent increase in the Certificate of Competency (COC) issued in the previous year.
He said the international community now has confidence in certificates issued by Nigeria and by NIMASA.
"In doing this, previous exams were reviewed, we got some international bodies to benchmark our exams, we also had to work with training institutions in-country to review the quality of instructions given to seafarers. This led to improvements in their performance in exams. We have also tried by building the NIMASA processes in terms of standardization of exams, this has led to 149 percent increase in certificates issued to seafarers, we have more Nigerians now having certificates"
"Within the period under review, few international organization and shipping companies offered to authenticate our certificates, we have an online portal that would enable you authenticate that the certificate was issued by NIMASA, the international community has access, you can check the Nigerian COC anywhere in the world, there is a new confidence that it is going to be genuine", he said.