The immediate past president of the Nigeria Indigenous Ship Owners Association (NISA); Mr. Aminu Umar has rated cadets trained under the Nigerian Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP) very low in competence and employability.
Explaining why ship owners in Nigeria rate the foreign-trained NSDP cadets low, Umar said that the NSDP cadets who are trained overseas perform lower than those trained by the Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN) Oron.
The NSDP cadets are sponsored for their mandatory on board training by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).
He said although ship owners have trained and given opportunities to over 1000 NSDP seafarers onboard Nigerian ships, MAN Oron cadets have performed better than cadets trained abroad under the NIMASA NSDP.
According to him, “we are participating in the NSDP, I can tell you that many Nigeria ship owners have trained cadets or seafarers onboard; some have trained about 1000 people, but there are limited ships that can train seafarers, particularly under the NSDP”.
He added that, “the NSDP is not only about the availability of ships, remember in Nigeria we have the MAN Oron that also graduates seafarers, we have the Institute of Oceanography and one or two institute doing it too
“So many of them (Cadets) are put to test, they undergo interviews and it sometimes the NSDP cadets do not make it when you interview them and we have seen that in terms of ranking, MAN Oron does better than the NSDP Cadets, who are even trained outside the country”
“We have seen that the standard of cadets from MAN Oron is higher than the NSDP cadets who were trained outside the country. So for many ship owners, they go for who is the best, not whether he is in this programme or in that programme and you will see that we employ the Nigerians, possibly the NSDP don't make it in the selection process”, he said.
You will recall that the NSDP was initiated by NIMASA in 2008 to deal with the dearth of trained and certified seafarers in Nigeria.
Recently, the agency granted a three months’ extension to the NSDP Cadets who are overseas. due to the outbreak of COVID 19 that disrupted several activities across the globe.