The Nigerian Maritime Society In Diaspora (NIMSID) has urged the Federal Government through the Minister of Transportation; Amaechi to establish an Autonomous Training Centre which will address the issue of maritime certification as it’s done in all advance maritime nations in the world.
The group,in a statement signed by its Vice President, Ukraine; Capt DM Hills identified this as one of the major reasons Nigerian seafarers are being denied opportunities of serving in foreign shipping companies even though they have what it takes.
The NIMISD also argued that the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) does not have business issuing seafarers or offshore workers certificates of competency.
It argued that ‘’in an ideal maritime society, there is always a maritime certification centre which is saddled with such responsibility. In the real sense of it, when students are through with their studies, they go and sit for their COC examination to enable them get their licence(s), those centres also serves as a training point for Ratings (OS) who wish to pick up a career in sailing, offshore workers as well as for Officers who need certificate upgrade as the case may be’’
According to NIMSID, with the establishment of such centres, NIMASA will have less job to do, it will help the agency to concentrate on regulating and supervision of maritime activities as it relate to safety.
It said that, ‘’advance maritime countries like United Kingdom, India, Panama Poland, Canada, Ukraine, Australia, USA etc all have these autonomous training centres’’.
‘’This training centre is necessary because Nigerian seafarers are losing out greatly, even as Nigeria COC is of no value in the eyes of the international maritime community, because our certification template is wrong and outdated, this also explains why Nigerian seafarers always TRAVELED down to Ghana for their COC and certificate upgrade’’, the group pointed out.
‘’We maintain that NIMASA or MAN, Oron do not have business conducting competency examination, the job of MAN Oron is to provide students with basic theoretical and practical knowledge to prepare them for the sea job ,while the job of NIMASA is to check and confirm those documents presented to them from maritime institutions’’, the group argued further.
‘’Training and certification should be done by an independent maritime agency and not NIMASA or MAN Oron’’, it added.
Although Nigeria is on IMO white-list but in practical term, she is not, this is so because those who head the maritime agency have not done enough to facilitate process to get other maritime nations to recognize our seafarer's license (COC), this is worrisome and this has affected our seafarers’’, it added.
“We are calling on the federal government to set up a Maritime Training Center to solve the challenge of seamen certification, for all ranks’’, it concluded.